The article was edited and published by Andrea Božić
This will not be a story about World Water Day, which is one of the most important dates on the world's ecological calendar. This is the story of a small human being with a big heart and a collective who stood behind the noble idea to preserve the lake and the life in it....
About twenty years ago, on the site of today's Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, there were fields full of wild garbage dumps, backwaters of fecal water, and an open sewage channel that flowed into the Sava River. After planning the land and building a plant that greatly changed the eco image of the city of Zagreb, a lake was also created so that all visitors could enjoy a kind of ecological oasis that was created on the edge of the city.
And while many people think that the lake near ZOV is just a beautiful water scene that visitors look forward to for their 'eco selfie', it is a real small living wealth of flora and fauna.
Let's find out who is the 'good spirit' of the lake at ZOV!
Modest and likable, Željko Srbič is our dear colleague from ZOV uip, who has been taking care of life below and above the surface of the lake on his own initiative after working hours, regardless of the season.
- I am a big lover of rivers and lakes. Water is the source of life, in every sense of the word! And besides everything, I am a big lover of animals, especially fishes. Therefore, somehow it was already written in my genetic code that I have to take care of the ones that are hiding here at ZOV.'- Željko, an experienced sport fisherman, who regularly catches bigeyes in rivers and lakes throughout Croatia, tells us with a smile on his face.
This, on the other hand, what he does for our lake is something completely different. Željko, an electrical technician by profession, invested a lot of love and free time so that the fish would survive the winter and last year's hot summer, so that the water lilies would be in optimal numbers, and the swans would return regularly and treat everyone who came by with their beauty and sight.
"The stocking came mostly naturally, on the wings of birds whose feathers stick eggs and are transferred from one lake or river to another... Therefore, the living world here is colorful, which makes me especially happy! In addition to fish, there are frogs, small insects, turtles, amphibians that are also protected animals." - Željko tells us and adds - "ten years ago we introduced some new fish into the lake, mostly carp, so now they are nice specimens in a solid weight." - smiles our colleague while talking about his 'pets' at work. Fish are his passion. Preserving them is an even bigger mission for him. He says he is worried about stagnant water, which is increasingly endangered due to the use of pesticides in the fields, while rainfall is decreasing. Some water in Croatia are already in a state of alarm. When human carelessness is added to that, we come to alarming news, which is that there are fewer and fewer fish and more and more pollution.
-'Since we joined the EU, things have improved a bit. But everything is going at a snail's pace. Some things have started to be controlled and this is good in the long term. I mostly stay in Lonjsko polje, Sava, Drava and Lake Borovik and the situation there is good for now. I hope that climate change will not continue to affect the water level as much because the eco picture is changing, the fish are confused and can no longer spawn in the places where they used to do it before. But we have to think positively. We must help our environment as much as we can, and live life with water and for life in it - tells us Željko Srbič, who during the great heat and lack of precipitation in the lake at ZOV, turns on the pump and adds well water to give the fish optimal oxygen and fresh water. Therefore, so far there have been no major problems despite the weather. As for feeding itself, Željko got the attention of his employers, and boiled corn and cereals were on the menu for our fish from the lake.
- The fish are not fed every day, just seasonal... But as soon as I get close to the lake, they know that food is coming, and they immediately gather. A real zoo! - he told us, he also knows which fish is coming even from a few meters away. And these are not fishing stories!
It should be said that there are no pieces of paper or garbage around the lake, everything is regularly cleaned and maintained. Because it is part of our environment where we work and live almost half of the day.
After a pleasant afternoon by the lake with a colleague who is a true nature lover, a person really reconnects with nature. Just a little attention and care for the environment and the water that surrounds us and we can create a more beautiful and better world around us!
Happy World Water Day! Our colleague Željko really brightened it up for us with this story. We thank him for that!
Written and photographed by Astrid Werbolle