Protest against the construction of HPPs in the Vjosa valley

About 150 environmental activists and residents from all over the Vjosa valley have joined the Benca community to protest against the construction of hydropower plants on one of its most impressive tributaries. The mass protest held in Benca was supported by residents of Benca, Tepelena, Përmet, Selenica, Qesarat, Krasa, Vlora, Gjirokastra and many students from Tirana.

Residents and the campaign “To save the blue heart of Europe” have been joined by means of a letter addressed to the Minister of Energy and MP Valentina Leskaj, where she requests information about the plans of the Ministry of Energy and Industry for the construction of hydropower plants in Vjosa.

During the protest. (c) E. Loçe

A total of 31 HPPs have been designed along the Vjosa and its branches, currently 4 hydropower plants are being built, two of them right on the Benca river. The Bênça River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Albania and valuable in terms of biodiversity. Despite this, its waters will be used for energy production, risking the destruction of this unique ecosystem. The residents of Benca have been protesting against the construction of hydropower plants in this valley for more than two years. They have addressed the responsible institutions asking for clarification regarding what is being done to their river, but they have not received any concrete answer.

After the awareness campaign carried out by EcoAlbania through a tour of meetings throughout the valley, the residents are already aware of what they are risking to lose and are concerned about their future in this valley and have embraced the idea of declaring the Park first National river in Europe.

This national park proposed by EcoAlbania and international partners RiverWatch and EuroNatur is the best option to preserve the last “wild” river of Europe and at the same time to ensure a sustainable economic development of the area.

General information

The campaign for the protection of the river Vjosa is part of the international campaign for the protection of the most valuable rivers of the Balkan peninsula. More than 630 HPPs are currently designed from Slovenia to Albania. To oppose this wave of destruction, “EuroNatur” and “RiverWatch” have launched the campaign “Saving the blue heart of Europe” in cooperation with partners in the respective countries of the Balkans.

By Besjana Guri/ EcoAlbania

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