It 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.