The last meeting of the Vjosa tour was organized by EcoAlbania in the frame of “Save the blue heart of Europe” campaign, on March 13th in Selenica. The meeting was attended by 80 local people, representatives of civil society, Environment Inspectorate of Vlora, national and international media. The meeting is part of a series of meetings held along the Vjosa valley with the aim to inform different groups of interest of the community, about the values and the threats of the last wild river in Europe.
After the welcoming speech of Mr. Margariti, representative of the Municipality of Selenica, the participants were introduced to the latest data of studies on biodiversity, paying more attention to the rare species that live in the Vjosa valley and then passing to the threats – the hydro power construction projects along the Vjosa River and its tributaries. The participants were also introduced to the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign, being implemented by EcoAlbania and its international partners EuroNatur and RiverWatch. The alternative that we propose is the proclamation of the Vjosa National Park for a sustainable development, for the good of the local community and nature.
The participants expressed high interest and willingness to support the idea of a Vjosa National Park. “We don’t have the possibility to bring our children to the sea, and for this reason Vjosa would be the best solution on this, but the river is eroded and we are afraid to send them to the river because many people got drowned. We are ready to support you in the initiative to declare the Vjosa National Park, “said Valbona Rrapaj, teacher at the elementary school of Selenicë.
Another teacher from Selenica, Mr. Isufi says: “Vjosa used to have a large forest were they usually organized picnics and other activities…but now there is no forest. Please bring us back the “lungs” that Vjosa had once“.
Grabbed by the enthusiasm created and the desire to say their word they all protested for a few minutes, against dams and for the Vjosa National Park. Their support makes us more determined to accomplish our mission.
From Earta Nuna/ EcoAlbania