Thirty scientists and experts coming from various parts of Europe like Austria, Germany and Slovenia are exploring the situation in Poçem Valley in Vjosa River, where the government has approved a concession for the construction of a hydropower plant, with a 50 meters high, that will lay across both banks of the river, over a length of 200 meters. For about one week, the work groups will explore the habitat, while a portion of the accumulated data will be examined in the laboratory. In any case, the direct onsite observations show high expectations.
‘Vjosa, the largest river in southern Albania, is the last river in Europe that until today has an unchanged flow stream. We think that we will all be lost from the construction of this hydropower plant. Damage will affect the generations to come’ says Professor Friedriech Schiemer, a famous ecologist from the University of Vienna.
In a recently approved resolution on Albania, European Parliament addresses the government attempts to build a hydropower plant in the Vjosa River. The European Parliament advises the government to give up on its plans to construct the hydropower plant in Vjosa,and encourages authorities to establish a Vjosa National Park.
Vjosa and its entire course – from the Pindus Mountains to the to the Adriatic Sea- of 270 kilometers is a real beauty. Europe’s last wild river is endangered by the construction of a 25 meters dam that will destroy the most praised ecological characteristics of the river. The news of Vjosa River being at the center of attention at the European Parliament is joyful to those who have been protesting against these plans for months and have fought hard to raise public awareness on the issue.
Earlier, environmentalists from EcoAlbania, Riverwatch from Austria, EuroNatur from Germany and 38 residents of the area filed a lawsuit against Ministry of Energy and Industry, Ministry of Environment and National Agency of Enviroment over plans for the construction of the Poçem dam.
Enivornmentalists argue that the hydropower plant project would degrade the unique features of Vjosa River along with species-rich alluvial forests and ecosystems biodeversity. Residents in the area are concerned that alteration of the river’s sendiment would lead to more floods hence their living near the river would be impossible.
More than 400 new hydropower dams are to be built in all of Albania representing the biggest threat for rivers. Albania is rich in natural resources but this must not be misused to justify plans for setting up dams in every river. These efforts would not only cause fatal consequences to the biodiveristy but also to the people living in surrounding areas.
Albanian authorities have not yet exploited the possibility of exploiting solar energy. Setting up solar panels would be a great opportunity to alternative energy, particularly favored by Albania’s typical mediterranean climate as the country enjoys over 80% of a year in the sun./AgroWeb.org