8 August 2008 | Environmentalists protest proposed changes in the authorities responsible for the Danube Delta and warn of subsequent dangers to the unique ecological region, national media reported today.
The non-governmental association Save the Danube and the Delta opposes the Romanian environmental ministry’s intention to turn the Danube Delta beaches from the administration responsible for the area’s biosphere over to the local municipalities’ administration, according to the Evenimentul Zilei newspaper.
This turnover would strip the beaches along the Delta from their status as a state area of national importance and give a green light to the development of tourist sites, which would damage the region’s biodiversity, the organisation claimed.
“In a zone declared as a cultural heritage site of a national importance by UNESCO, in the region with the richest biodiversity of species in Europe, the interest of everyone, but mainly the state authorities, should be connected to the preservation of this place as much as possible from industrial activities of the kind that tourism projects could be,” Kostel Popa, the organisation’s director told the publication.
“The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas,” according to UNESCO’s official description of the area. “The Danube Delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.”
The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve was created in 1990 and it is the only one in the world to include the entire delta of a river. It has a surface of 580 000 hectares, or 2,5 per cent of Romania’s total surface.