Danube should become water highway

WWF: EU plots are a threat to the last major flood plains in Central Europe

Danube near Batina (Croatia) © Denis Barthel / GFDL
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Over 1, 000 kilometers of the Danube are to be dredged, regulated or dammed according to EU plans for shipping. From a green river corridor across Europe would then be a straightened ship's highway. This is what the WWF has pointed out on the occasion of the publication of the current Danube Map Atlas.

After analyzing satellite images and historical maps, the environmental and nature conservation organization came to the conclusion that 80% of the original floodplain landscapes and habitats were destroyed on the lower Danube alone.

200 islands before the end

If the current EU plans are implemented, according to WWF further unique nature reserves with rare animal and plant species would be destroyed. On the lower Danube alone, up to 200 islands, the largest of which covers an area of ​​400 hectares, threatened to disappear as a result of the plans of the European Union as a habitat.

"The implementation of the EU plans would be an ecological disaster for Central and Eastern Europe, " warns WWF advisor Dorothea August. Endangered would therefore be several international large protected areas whose global importance is synonymous with the Amazon or the Serengeti. The Danube landscape between Straubing and Vilshofen in Germany and large sections of the Middle Danube in Hungary, Croatia and Serbia would be affected by the planning.

Devastating consequences for unique biodiversity?

The WWF classifies the planned extensions on the Lower Danube in Romania and Bulgaria as "particularly serious". Here, entire side arms are to be separated, shore fortifications created and the riverbed be narrowed by dams and sleepers. Added to this is the regular dredging of the fairway. display

"The WWF fears devastating consequences for the unique biological diversity of the region, " says August. For example, the beluga sturgeon can no longer migrate upriver to its spawning grounds. Also pelicans and numerous rare bird species, pond turtle and otter are threatened.

Environmentally hostile expansion policy

In the opinion of the WWF, the EU expansion project is the continuation of an environmentally hostile expansion policy that originated before 1990 in the former Eastern Bloc countries. Alone the attempts to make the gigantic Danube Delta, with a total area of ​​4, 178 square kilometers, usable for agriculture, destroyed almost a fifth of the valuable natural areas. "If the EU were to actually implement its expansion project, this would be the final blow to death for the Green Danube, " warns August.

(WWF, 29.10.2009 - DLO)