Greenpeace pitches camp to protect Rospuda wetland
Feb 15, 2007, 15:35 GMT
Warsaw - Global environmental watchdog Greenpeace this week pitched camp in Poland's pristine Rospuda river valley, vowing to block work on a government-approved highway project through the last wetland of its kind in Europe.
Poland's Public Affairs Ombudsman and the European Commission have expressed concern about the legality of the highway project, which opponents claim is in breach of strict EU environment directives.
The Polish government insists it conforms to EU directives. Environment Minister Jan Szyszko recently gave the go ahead to the 17-kilometre-long stretch of platform highway cutting through the protected Rospuda wetland to the popular Mazurian lakes resort town of Augustow.
Preparations were underway for construction work to begin in the coming weeks.
The highway project is part of the larger international Via Baltica route designed to create a high-speed road link to Poland's fellow EU Baltic neighbours Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Environmentalists including Greenpeace argue the wetland in north- east Poland is the only one of its kind in Europe and home to a number of unique varieties of flora and fauna. The planned highway would destroy the unique eco-system, they say.
A member of the EU since 2004, Poland could face massive fines should both the European Commission and the European Court of Justice rule the highway in breach of EU legislation.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur