The Article of the online magazine Yale Environment 360 “A Balkan Dam Boom Imperils Europe’s Wildest Rivers” by Paul Hockenus is about the impact of the planned hydropower plants in the Balkan peninsula for the environment and the local residents. Nearly 2700 dam projects are planned or under construction from Slovenia to Greece according to a study by RiverWatch and EuroNature. A detailed assessment of 22000 miles of Balkan rivers commissioned by WWF and other conservation groups has classified 30 % of the region’s rivers as pristine or “near-natural” and another 50 % as in good condition. That is a sharp contrast to the situation in Western Europe, where most rivers have been dammed or subjected to intensive development. Scientists and conservationists say that if the proposed scale of Balkan dam building proceeds, thousands of miles of waterways, home to scores of endemic or endangered species, will be irreversibly degraded and polluted. The Balkan rivers are home to 69 endangered species and contain more than 40 % of all the endangered freshwater mollusk species in Europe. In addition to the environmental impacts there are a lot of villages which will be flooded so the locals have to to move.
The European Union, which had originally supported hydropower projects in the name of zero-carbon energy, is now urging governments in southeastern Europe to back out of them.
To read the full article click here.