Magazine article New Internationalist

Stop the Dam Craze

Magazine article New Internationalist

Stop the Dam Craze

Article excerpt

A group of NGOs is ramping up efforts to protect some of Europe's last pristine rivers.

Riverwatch, EuroNatur and local Balkan NGOs are among those behind 'Save the Blue Heart of Europe', a campaign to preserve the Balkans' spectacular untouched rivers, now threatened by plans to build hundreds of hydropower plants.

'We have evidence of about 3,000 dam projects to start in the next few years between Slovenia and Greece - with 180 already under way,' says Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch. 'We call it the "dam tsunami".'

Campaigners fear the dams would leave hardly any river unaffected, threatening the area's biodiversity - Balkan rivers host 69 unique fish species - and human communities, leaving thousands without access to water.

Some core funding comes from international financial institutions, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank Group, and other western European banks including Italy's Unicredit and Austria's Erste Bank. …

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