Eco Disaster

RospudaIt has finally happened. The Podlasie Provincial Governor has given permission for the construction of the highway that will cut through the heart of the wetlands of the Rospuda Valley, one of the most unique peatland regions in Europe, not to mention the world.

According to the majority of ecologists, the so-called Augustów bypass will alter the Rozpuda Valley ecosphere beyond recognition. Many were hoping the central government would teach the local authorities a lesson in eco-protection. However, Poland’s Environment Minister rubber-stamped the decision and construction work is set to begin in the next few weeks, if not days.

The European Commission has threatened the Polish government with sanctions if the construction of the road goes ahead. These are not idle threats. The Commission ordered Spain to stop all traffic on a newly-built road that cut through an important natural region. Millions of euro, therefore, have been spent on a road that cannot be used. Poland’s ecologists and a large group of citizens are hopeful these EU threats will bring the government to its senses.

Several large protest groups have formed whose aim it is to undo the petty money-driven administrative decisions that could eradicate one of the last surviving biospheres of this kind. You are free to contact the Environment Ministry directly here or sign the petitions that might hopefully make a difference (‘Mire Conservation’ Petition‘Save Rospuda’ Petition and ‘Baltica’ Petition). A little bit of solidarity could help right the wrongs of those who have no concern for our environment.

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8 thoughts on “Eco Disaster

  1. President Lech Kaczynski (finally, I know who’s who!) objected against the Rospuda Valley highway. Moreover, CBA is currently investigating the deal. Things do not look pretty for that highway…

  2. Yes, very nce of him :-/ It took long enough! That still doesn’t mean we should stop signing these petitions. I think it’s a great chance for Poland’s citizens to show the world that nature and the environment means a lot to them. This a chance for the people to REALLY take a stance on ecology.

  3. There’s quite a lot of controversy now over the whole Rospuda issue… I have to admit that I’m pretty unsure which side to support. Undoubtedly the road can damage a great part of the precious peat bogs and harm the environment of numerous species of animals etc., but I reckon that building this bypass is necessary because approx. 5000(!) lorries cross Augustów everyday(!) and about 30 people (children, teenagers, adults) die in car accidents caused by these heavy loaded vehicles every year. Can you imagine that? This case is a tough nut to crack, really. There seems to be a solution, though. Ecologists say the bypass could be build elsewhere in the Rospuda Valley not making so much damage to the natural environment. But Augustów citizens don’t actually want take this option under consideration… They want to have this road built within two and a half years – which I think is rather unlikely to happen, at least not in Poland – and ecologists say that building it where they suggest would take 3 years. Tomorrow both ecologists and Augustów citizens are going to meet to discuss the matter. I hope they reach a compromise in a civilized way…

  4. Hello! I would like to contact people who are concerned by this project, especially NGOs which take/took part in the Environmental Impact Assessment. I write my diploma thesis about the relation between NGOs and those who realise projects within the EIA. Who can help me?
    Thanks a lot! Greets from Austria,
    Michaela

    PS: i search for projects especially in Poland!

  5. Sometimes I simply don’t understand why Poles are so stupid. If we have something unique why to destroy it? I understand that this bypass is needed , but why not to try to build it in such a way that it won’t go directly through the Rospuda Valley?
    Do we really want to be punished? We can’t afford paying these fines. Besides, I think that the Minister of Environment in this case can’t decide on his own. The Rospuda Valley is our national heritage, so we all should have the right to decide whether we are for or against building this road. And I don’t understand why did they already start building this bypass? And what if they won’t be allowed to continue the work? Then we will have a quite long stretch of useless road and we will throw the country’s money away.

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