Tuesday, 26 June 2007


By Fatmir Terziu

Industrial pollution constitutes a serious threat for the future of Albania, in particular in the oil-bearing zones of Proud and Ballsh. Whereas Albania wants miser on ├ęco-tourism, this pollution corrodes the country, concerning also the Adriatic dimension. The report without call of a former inspector of the environment, which denounces the incurie and the governmental inaction. By Arben Shytaj [1] The Committee of Environmental protection began its activity in 1994. I worked there as inspector between 1994 and 1996, which enabled me in particular to have an idea of the problems of the environment to the prefecture of Fieri. The catastrophe of the oil cisterns of a private company, which took place these last days, in the lagoon of Shengjin with Lezhe (North-eastern of Albania) encourages to me to write these lines about the massive pollution produced by hydrocarbons in our country which wants to become a “ecotouristic” destination. In 1996, sensitive to the problems of pollution which caused Ballsh and the Fier oil industry, I had already answered in a way detailed the newspaper Koha Jone, to explain dimensions and the sources of this pollution. I called upon the bodies of the local and central authority to sensitize them on this subject. The result was not made wait, one of the senior officials of the Institute arrived a few days later, the newspaper with the hand, to make me the lesson. Little time after, the chief of the Committee of Environmental protection of the time itself, Lirim Selfo, came to inspect the zone. First efforts to reduce the pollution caused by oil started then, but they were stopped in 1997. Currently, the situation was clearly degraded, to the already existing hearth of pollution of Proud-Ballsh was added another of them to Lezhe. Can Vlora being preserved of the oil rivers! The same massive pollutants are with work for a long time: companies of extraction of the oil of Patos-Marinze, Visoke-Ballsh-Cakran, and the oil refineries of Ballsh, to which is still added and the petrol station distribution network. The very old technology used in the entire oil system is a major source of the pollution which reaches catastrophic dimensions. Harming the public health initially, it is in the beginning many occupational diseases, perhaps even of many deaths. The oil-bearing zones are strongly populated and their widening involved the destruction of hundreds of hectares of arable land. Thousands of olive-trees and fruit trees which flowered before in the zone of Ballsh and Cakran, rich in natural gas, do not produce anything any more because of the escapes of gases which occur there. The majority of the underground sheets of water is contaminated, without speaking about the air saturated by the dangerous particles released by the working with the wells. In race end, it is the coast of Semani and the Adriatic Sea which are reached by this pollution, conveyed by the river of Gjanica which convoie waste of the oil exploitations and puts except use the beach of Seman-Hoxhara, whose water became died water, deprived of any animal life. Here more or less the situation in this significant zone of the environment, it has hardly changed for 10 years. Governmental inaction It is absolutely necessary to take radical measures to improve the situation which is really critical. The initiative “Albania with one euro” could possibly fall under this program. If a strategic investor recovered for one euro all the oil industry, since the extraction until refinement, the condition of rehabilitating the environment, perhaps we would leave the dead end. One should not proud all these politicians who do not intend to react truly. The problems do not miss a this side, the ministries concerned must especially work out policies of development, laws and regulations so that can function the structures of the State and the structures private. Since 1995-1996, the fundamental requests for control of the environment, such as obtaining the environmental licences, the participation in the regional Committees, the boards of inspectors, etc, were satisfied. Recently, the Xhuveli minister was pleased with the development of new laws in the field of the environment. However, according to directives' of the EU, we are well far from the necessary standards in the legislation. And in spite of the existence of the laws, we are pilot environmental pollution. The specialized agencies and the international actors gave a report on a massive pollution of the air with extremely serious consequences on the population, without the Department of the Environment taking care to declare the critical points, in accordance with the international standards. No measurement is taken to prohibit to deposit the wrecks of cars, to prohibit the importation of D2 oil, one of the most dangerous substances and most polluting. In the same way, the Department of the Environment did not take least measurement to solve the problem of urban waste and the cleaning of the inhabited zones, in spite of the funds at its disposal which could be used to sensitize the public opinion. Our country counts some significant zones inherited the communist system and one has the problems more or less of them, but that to say new hearths of pollution which are constituting itself: the foundry of Shkozet, the tannery and the factory of batteries of Berat, sites of Sharra, Tirana and besides still? There would be still to say on the damage which the natural resources undergo, our forests, our pastures, our rivers, our grounds, fauna and the flora are in suffering. The problems of the environment are capital in Albania, and they should have the priority, because the economic development such as it is in hand is carrying a great damage. The creation of a Department of the Environment was certainly a very good thing, but it was an error which to him to associate three or four other important functions. This fact has its explanation, the Minister for the Environment “was rewarded” for the kind for its participation in the coalition directed by the democratic Party [2]. These other functions are in open conflict of interests with the environment. The ministry joined to the owners of the natural resources, whereas it was to control their activity. [1] Arben Shytaj is a former inspector of the environment. [2] For a few years, the Department of the Environment has been managed by the agrarian Party, whose capacities are insufficient in this field, and who was formerly in coalition with the socialist Party.

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