Balkan dam boom threatens Europe’s last wild waterways

EurActive reports on the threat posed to river ecosystems in the Balkans by a current drive in dam construction being stimulated by foreign investment:

More is known about rivers in the Amazon than Europe’s last wild waterways in the Balkans. But these unique ecosystems in southeast Europe could soon be gone, along with endangered species such as the Balkan lynx, if plans for over 2,000 dams go ahead, conservationists warn.

Western financial institutions have ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into building dams in the region, arguing that hydropower is a green energy source that offers poor countries a way out of energy insecurity.

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“What we have here in the Balkans at the moment is a gold rush on the rivers,” says Ulrich Eichelmann, the director of RiverWatch, an Austria-based NGO. “I sometimes think the western countries that are financially supporting this degradation process have no idea what they are destroying. There is nothing in Europe remotely like this river system.”

To read more about the changing world and what you can do to prepare, visit: www.greatwavesofchange.org

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