On the occasion of this year’s “International Day of Action for Rivers”, the Save Polesia coalition are relaunching a petition to allow the general public to raise their voices to save Europe’s largest wetland wilderness. This Sunday, March 14 2021, people from all over the world will celebrate the ‘Rights of Rivers’. Now, everyone can take action and sign our petition against the proposed E40 waterway that would irrevocably alter some of Europe’s remaining free-flowing rivers and cut through the very heart of Polesia.
We call on the Governments of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine:
- to halt all plans to construct components of E40 waterway; including Nijniye Zary port in Belarus, Siarzewo dam in Poland and dredging the Pripyat river in Ukraine
- to undertake a comprehensive strategic assessment of the risks and benefits of the E40 waterway to inform a strategic decision
- to analyze railway alternatives to determine the most economic and sustainable transport option for connecting the Baltic and Black Seas
- to strengthen local economies by using Polesia’s huge potential for nature-based tourism
- to protect Polesia’s world class nature and other valuable landscapes along the wild rivers threatened by proposed E40 waterway
Many people have never heard of Polesia, Europe’s Amazon. It is one of the most biodiverse and culturally rich parts of Europe. The survival of many globally endangered species depends on it – including European bison, grey wolves and Eurasian lynx as well as millions of migratory birds. Polesia is the most important breeding ground for the globally threatened aquatic warbler, Europe’s rarest migratory songbird. This untouched landscape has not only tremendous natural value, but also provides immeasurable benefits for local communities and national economies.
But an environmental catastrophe looms over this hidden gem. Governments of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine want to create the 2,000km long E40 waterway connecting the Black Sea and the Baltic. Step by step, national governments are starting to build the E40 waterway. For its construction, some of Europe’s last major undamaged rivers including the Pripyat and Vistula would require dredging, damming, straightening and deepening. If construction continues, this would have disastrous impacts to all life in Polesia.
Europe’s Amazon is under threat. It’s time to protect some of the continent’s last remaining free-flowing rivers. Take action and sign now a petition to #savePolesia http://chng.it/qjdQRGYs #DayofAction2021 #RightsofRivers
- Visit our petition page to learn more and to sign
- Find out more about Polesia and read our factsheet ‘About Polesia – A unique wilderness of global importance’
- Learn more about the threats from the E40 waterway and read our factsheet ‘Polesia under threat – How a new waterway could destroy Polesia’s natural environment’
*Top image shows the globally threatened Aquatic warbler, Europe’s rarest migratory songbird. Polesia is its most important breeding ground. © Daniel Rosengren/FZS