Hollywood superstar DiCaprio lends support in campaign against hydropower dams
Members of the European Parliament, scientists – and even a Hollywood superstar – have joined ranks with environmentalists in calling for an end to the proliferation of hydropower dams on one of Europe’s last wild rivers.
They are calling for the creation of a wild river national park on the Vjosa River, which stretches 270 kilometres from the Greek mountains to the Adriatic coast in Albania. Conservationists, NGOs and scientists are afraid hydropower projects could annihilate the pristine river system.
In October 2020 the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) published a paper which raised the alarm that hydropower dams are dramatically altering the last river ecosystem on its kind in the Balkans and disrupting the migration route of globally-threatened fish species. Activists have brought the situation to international attention to avoid what is described as an ‘ecological disaster’ by starting movements that include ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe – a campaign for the protection of Balkan rivers’. They are also looking to put the creation of this wild river national park at the top of the Albanian political agenda.
The awareness-raising campaign is gathering momentum and has even received the support of Hollywood great, Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently tweeted his support to his 20 million followers. Clothing brand Patagonia has released a film, Vjosa Forever, urging concerned citizens to show their support.
The European Parliament, in its 2021 Albanian Progress Report, has also urged the country’s government to minimise the impact on biodiversity by halting hydropower development in protected areas – particularly in regions near the Valbona and Vjosa rivers.