++ Residents require cancellation of HPPs that have been awarded against their will ++
Tirana, July 6, 2019. Citizens from all over Albania have protested today against hydropower plants on their rivers. Residents of affected areas by HPP projects from north to south of the country came together in a protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office to raise their voice against the wave destruction on the Albanian rivers.
540 hydropower plants are planned to be built in the territory of Albania, a significant part of which in protected areas (around 61) and areas with high natural potential. These plans are often followed by ongoing conflicts and protests from affected communities throughout Albania. They risk losing their homes, farmland, drinking water, irrigation water supplies and landscapes inherited from generations. Despite the great impact on their lives, the most vulnerable communities are not aware of the hydropower plants that are planned in their yards, let alone being consulted.
The communities of Mirdita, Mat, Kukës, Dibra, Tropoja, Kelmendi, Vjosa, Librazhdi, Selenica, NGO-s and the activists asked to the government:
- Revision of all the signed contracts for HPPs and transparency to the public.
- Cancellation of all hydropower plants projects, which go against the will of the affected inhabitants, violate the natural integrity of protected areas and those with high natural potential.
This protest launched a series of protests for the protection of the Balkan rivers that will be organized in many Balkan countries on July 6-16. Thousands of people are affected by the tsunami of more than 3,000 dams planned in the Balkans. Many are struggling with continuous protests and are determined to defend their rivers, at all costs. “We give our life, but not our river” is the most common expression of their attitude.
“Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign aims to protect rivers with greatest natural values on the Balkan Peninsula. The campaign is coordinated by international NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur in co-operation with partner organizations in the Balkan countries. EcoAlbania is a partner organization in Albania.