Environmentalists protest airport challenge close to Albanian fowl sanctuary By Reuters


© Reuters. Flamingos are seen on the Vjosa-Narte Protected space in Vlora, Albania, January 28, 2023. REUTERS/Florion Goga


By Florion Goga

VJOSE-NARTE, Albania (Reuters) – Environmentalists protested over the weekend on the constructing web site of a brand new airport in Albania’s south meant to spice up tourism however which they are saying will endanger sanctuaries for some 200 fowl species together with flamingos and pelicans.

The picturesque Vjose-Narte lagoon near Albania’s Adriatic seaside is a vital cease for flocks of birds of their annual migration between Europe and Africa.

The federal government is constructing the airport simply 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the Adriatic coast with pristine sandy seashores which the poor Balkan nation hopes will appeal to extra overseas vacationers.

“For many who suppose this airport will deliver improvement, in actuality this airport will deliver solely destruction,” vacationer information Alben Kola instructed Reuters on Saturday as he and greater than 100 environmentalists and ornithologists held their protest.

The European Union, which Albania goals to hitch in the future, has stated the airport challenge, launched in December 2021 and due for completion on the finish of 2024, was undertaken in contradiction with nationwide and worldwide legal guidelines on defending biodiversity.

The committee of the Bern Conference that works to guard European wildlife and pure habitats has stated Albania ought to droop the development of the airport.

“This exhibits that this nature wealth belongs not solely to us however to the entire of Europe and overseas governments are doing extra to guard it than we do,” stated Joni Vorpsi, from the NGO Safety and Preservation of Pure Atmosphere in Albania (PPNEA) that has been preventing for years to guard the lagoon.

In November an Albanian court docket rejected a lawsuit filed by native NGOs in opposition to the development of the airport however they plan to enchantment.

Vorpsi stated the airport, which might serve the southern coastal metropolis of Vlore, not solely would destroy avian habitats however elevate the danger of plane collisions with massive birds.

The Swiss agency main the challenge, Mabetex, has stated the take-off and touchdown paths of planes there wouldn’t have an effect on fowl routes. It stated the runway could be 3.5 kilometres from the fowl sanctuary and 5 km away from main fowl migration routes.

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