A journey through Kosova's longest river

The White Drini River, with a length of 122 kilometers in the territory of Kosovo, is the largest body of water in the country.
After its source near the village of Radac in the municipality of Peja, the White Drini runs almost the entire length of the Dukagjini plain in western Kosovo, gathering with it all other rivers.
As a non-sailable river, the White Drini is an important source of irrigation for the fertile fields of the Dukagjini plain. It is used by the inhabitants of the villages along its route for fishing, irrigation and unfortunately for sand extraction. Dozens of licensed and also illegal construction companies are constantly extracting tons of sand and gravel from the riverbed and creating a catastrophic impact on the flora and fauna.
According to regular fishermen, fishing in the river is almost impossible as the fish are constantly under the influence of the muddy waters caused by the sand excavation process.
One of the main problems faced by the river remains untreated wastewater from large cities such as Peja, Gjakova, Klina or Prizren. Although it does not cross the center of any city, untreated water flows into it via other rivers such as the Lumbardhi of Peje, the Istog, the Erenik, the Klina river or the Lumbardhi of Prizren.
Almost none of the major towns in the Dukagjin Plain have taken steps to build sewage treatment plants before discharging them into rivers.
Recently, Prizren Municipality started the construction of a plant for treating wastewater from Prizren, but this will not stop the pollution of Prizren's Lumbardhi from other villages in the Sharri Mountains.
Thus, every river that flows into the White Drini is therefore polluted in one way or another. As a result, it can be said that the White Drini is the most polluted river in the country, since even the villages located along its course dump their sewage and waste into it.


Throughout 2022, I traveled to photograph the most important and polluted parts of the 122-kilometer-long river in two countries. This is the first part of the project and it was entirely funded by the “EJA Kosovo” program of the Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Sweden and the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

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