The Danube Delta - Remember

Whenever one talks about the beauties of our country and its tourist potential, the first words on the speaker's lips are: the Danube Delta. Unfailingly accompanied by the phrase "biosphere reserve". Sometimes, the fact that it is a wetland of international importance is mentioned. Very seldom does one remember that the Delta is also included in the UNESCO list of the world's natural and cultural heritage. Perhaps this is because it does not benefit from national protection. I wonder why ? People speak in impressively generous terms about the Danube Delta. It makes you feel that if you get there you will reach paradise. Once this used to be true. It was back in the days when it got international protection and when the administrative structure was established. Except that was about it, nothing more since then. Meanwhile people have forgotten – or perhaps they have never understood – all the reasons for which it was given this triple international status. Of course, the most important thing is the diversity of the natural eco-systems and of wild species. But this alone would have not been sufficient. A decisive factor was the fact that this immense natural capital is very well preserved, thanks to the way in which man and nature have co-habited. The protection was also meant to be the continuation of traditional practices that led to the preservation of that unique biological diversity. The Danube Delta was supposed to be a real model of sustainable development. All the activities related to preservation were supposed to be combined with those of development. The local population was the main player and it should have been offered support in order to be able to keep observing their traditions. But it seemed as if all the measures taken were against the locals. Not only did they fail to preserve nature, they also aggravated things. There is no fish left in the Delta nowadays! Although the Delta is included among top priorities on the government's agenda, and although it represents almost 5% of the national territory, the funds allocated by the ministry in charge are a quarter as many as those for the upkeep of green areas, while the projects for sustainable development of the region are blocked by the authorities in charge of the environment. Soon we will be using the past tense when talking about the Danube Delta Reserve Biosphere. As well as about all that used to be and could have been, but is not.  Zoom, 8/11/2007

by Atena Groza