Environmental disruption in the Danube

Romanian opposition to the reopening of the Bystraya Canal on the Ukrainian side of the Danube delta is creating a potentially explosive dispute between the two neighbouring countries.

International environmental watchdogs support Romania’s concerns that dredging from the project is causing destruction of UNESCO protected wetlands and poses a threat to the area’s ecosystem. The European Commission demanded in August that Kyiv suspend the project until an independent environmental impact study could be carried out.

The Ukraine aims to increase its share of shipping in the delta from 2% to 60%, whilst halving shipping tolls.

Meanwhile, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, in cooperation with the World Bank and the United Nations, recently approved a US$12 million loan to support environmental projects designed to reduce the volume of polluted water flowing into the Slovenian waters of the Danube river basin.

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