Albania, associations call for the protection of wetlands

2024-02-02 20:25:00, Sociale CNA

Albania, associations call for the protection of wetlands

On the International Day of Wetlands, a number of environmental organizations, students and local representatives, joined in the Vilun Lagoon, in the protected area in Velipoja, to appeal for the protection of this national asset, which continues to be damaged by human interventions, but and climate change.

Albania has about 3.2 percent of its surface with wetlands that carry 75 percent of natural biodiversity, while 4 of these areas are Ramsar areas with international protection, says Mark Rupa, an environmental expert at the SNVP organization "We protect the values ??of nature and people".

"In Albania, there are many infrastructural developments taking place in lagoons. We also look at the interventions that have been made in the lagoon of Vaini and Kunes, a part of Narta with the airport. They are the By Passi of Shkodra, the tourist resorts that are affecting these lagoons. We also have such a problem in Lalzi Bay. So, everywhere in Albania, infrastructural developments are greatly affecting these systems that are very important for the economy and the Albanian tourist landscape", he says.

The region of Shkodra alone has 46 thousand hectares of wetlands, which include the Shkodra Lake, the Buna River, the Domni Swamp and the Vilun Lagoon in the Velipoja area. The director of protected areas for the region of Shkodra, Agim Dardha, says that the goal is for the residents, who live in these protected areas, to become aware of their preservation as an asset that also serves the local communities.

"Our main goal is to make the population aware not to interfere with the wetlands. The positive effects are not only for the residents or businesses and actors who live within the territory of these wetlands, but for the entire territory, as we are also a cross-border area, where almost our entire waterway is shared with the part of Montenegro, as we have the Buna River and Shkodra Lake", he says.

Wetlands in Albania, according to Mr. Rupa, are threatened by climate change, human interventions in the environment, floods, the wrong management of a part of them by the local and central governments, as well as the reduction of their surface by arbitrary decisions.

"There are a number of challenges and we definitely need to pay attention, react, adapt, take measures to at least mitigate these challenges. Not only state institutions, but all of us as organizations, business institutions that are directly affected in their economy by the investments they have made over the years in these territories. Let's react together and find a way to ease this challenge as much as possible".

In the middle of this month, a draft law is expected to be discussed in parliament for changes to the law on protected areas, to give municipalities the right to manage 20 percent of the surface of these areas, a draft law that has been opposed by environmental associations as it risks the conversion of these areas in construction areas for business interests./ CNA

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