Albania designates Europe’s last ‘wild river’ as a national park

A general view of Vjosa river, or Aoos in Greek, which environmentalists call "the last wild river in Europe", in Bylis, Albania, 23 May 2021. [Florion Goga/Reuters]

Albania's government has designated the Vjosa River in the southern part of the country as a national park, marking a victory for environmentalists who have been fighting for years against plans for hydropower plants along the waterway.

Environmentalists and scientists have dubbed the Vjosa the last "wild" river in Europe, as it flows uninterrupted for 270 km from the Pindus mountains in Greece - where it is known as the Aoos - across southern Albania to the Adriatic Sea, without any dams or power stations.

They say the river is home to around 1,000 species, including the critically endangered European eel and endangered endemic plant species. Declaring Vjosa and its tributaries a national park will prevent building projects.

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama said there will be an initial budget of €75 million to build new factories to stop wastewater from...

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