Danube Delta, at the Bystroe moment (I)
-"The Danube Delta at the beginning of the 3-rd millennium" is the name of the expedition from last week in the Danube Delta, made by a team from MEGA TV, an editor from 'Viata Libera' newspaper and an ecologist.
The idea of an expedition in the delta, in order to monitor the navigation's effects and the works of the Bystroe canal and Chilia branch, belongs to Maximilian Popescu, from MEGA TV, former ship commander in love with the waters. He convinced the television, which appealed to the Ecological Counseling center Galati (ECCG), directed by prof. Petruta Moisi, spokesperson of the Danube Environment Forum, who recently came from Ukraine. The 'Viata Libera' newspaper had also joined the partenership. ECG asked for support from the Fluvial Administration "Dunărea de Jos", and the executive director Valeriu Anghel offered a last generation motorboat, with a young captain. A protocol was signed between these institutions.
We went to that place with Maximilian Popescu, Ilie Dragan from ECG, Viorica Paun-MEGA TV operator, and with the captain of the motorboat, Petru Stoian to see the situation.
Throughout the Delta people had different opinions about the Ukrainian initiative; we saw same Ukrainian dredgers and a German one on Chilia branch; we discussed with the mayor from Chilia Veche, an isolated village from the country, and with people from Sulina and their mayor. We landed at St. Gheorghe, where the big luxury boat "Amadeus" stopped at least once. Every time we were confronted with a big lack of fish, the old richness of Romania.
- A clear document for military interest
We started the trip at Tulcea, and at the Danube Biosphere Reservation we talked to the governor Virgil Munteanu. Here, after an interesting discussion, we found out, just when leaving, a thing which we understood only when Pertu Stoian, our captain, who knows the delta very well, showed us the Ukrainian works immediately after the canal's construction became public.Bank was deforested, or that kilometric landmarks became visible. Probably, to let us think that NATO is stopped in front of them.
"Strategically, the construction of a navigable route on the Ukrainian zone will militarily, economically and energetically consolidate Ukraine's independence", it is mentioned in a document published in1992, by the Natural Resources and Ecological Ministry of Ukraine. The Government didn't allow us to make a copy of it.
-On the 20th we will find out the implications
The governor told us that he had asked, a few years before, to the Ukrainians for a study on the impact of the canal's construction. The National Institute of Development and Investigation in the Danube Delta is now working on an impact study in the Romanian delta, which will include measures to prevent the effects. The study will be ready on 25 November and it will be presented in a press conference the next day, at Tulcea. Until then, we and the specialists can express our opinions. Fishermen are worried about the perspective of not being able to fish in order to live, says the governor, who has a good collaboration with them.
We discussed with the governor about another situation from the delta, too. We found out that after crossing ten countries and four capitals, the Danube collects the floating garbage in the delta. "At Sulina there are 10 tones of PET's; nobody is interested in taking them" told the governor.
-The wrecks are disappearing
In the last two years, The Reservation Administration forced the wrecks owners to take them out of the Reservation. Until now, 200 wrecks had been taken out. Some zones were completely freed: on the old Danube at mile 7 and ˝ there was a place full with of wrecks; now there are none there. At Sulina and at kilometer 107, on the St Gheorghe branch, about 60 ships were taken out this year. The governor hopes that till the end of this year all the ships will be removed. The works for the removal of the "Rostock" ship have begun and in maximum two months the canal of Sulina should be free.
-The biggest ecologically reconstructed surface in Europe
A good piece of news concerns the possible remaking of the old flooded zone from the last regime. More than 30000 km flooded before 1989 are waiting the results of the study that will be published on 26 November. "It is an option which will be scientifically fundamental and if the realization of such an expensive project will be imposed, of course, we will look to identify financial sources and ways to execute it". In 1994, reconstruction projects began; approximately 11,000 sq. km of water surface were reconstructed", the biggest ecological surface in Europe.
Next year, Podina islets will be ecologically reconstructed from the St. Gheorghe branch and the Madgearu Cordon zone. Works will be made to decolmate the canals and natural ponds that existed in the past, and the artificial canals created before 1990 will be opened.
I asked some questions to the governor of Danube Biosphere Reserve Administration and his answers will be published in a next edition.
'Viata Libera' newspaper, 8 November 2004