The World Wildlife Fund has blasted a recent government decision regarding river management, saying only a tiny proportion of rivers will be protected, leaving the vast majority at risk of pollution and destruction.
The February 4 decision only applies to rivers above 1,500 meters which is “an insignificant percentage of less than 1% of rivers,” WWF-Romania said.
“There is no scientific justification,” the environmental group said in a statement.
It warned that the rest of Romanian rivers, even those in protected areas risked destruction merely because they were at a lower altitude
The group said it could lead to “the continued irreversible destruction of nature” and would mean Romania continued to be subject to a European Commission infringement procedure which has been place for five years.
The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Romania in 2015 over a series of violations of European and Romanian law on water and biodiversity, namely hydropower plant projects on two rivers in the Fagaras Mountains, which are protected areas.
WWF did note, however, that the government decision offered extra protection to a few rivers.
“Theoretically, there won’t be any hydroelectric power plants or any other activity that could impact the waters rivers that flow above 1,500 meters,” said Diana Cosmoiu, the WWF national coordinator of public policy.
“But we can’t help but wonder what will happen to other valuable rivers in Romania.”
The statement said that the government had ignored other “extremely important criteria” such as protecting rivers for fish and creating protected areas, as well as defining non-intervention zones on rivers.”.
„The Romanian state hasn’t done anything to remedy the destruction of micro hydroelectric power plants from previous years and hasn’t done enough to prevent others in the future” she said.