Valbona 'Flows' in Skanderbeg Square
Albanian Daily News
Published May 24, 2018
Valbona River will 'flow' to Tirana's Skanderbeg Square this Thursday evening at 21:00 p.m. to protest against the hydro-power constructions threatening 30km of its length.
The community, will protest against the proposed of construction of 14 hydro-power plants, three of which are already under construction.
"Valbona River is one of Europe's last remaining wild rivers and the heart of Northern Albania's Valbona Valley National Park. The river protest is an appeal to decision-makers, and primarily to prime minister Edi Rama, to halt construction of hydro-power plants in the National Park, to protect the river, the unique ecosystem it supports and the local community that lives within the park," says the organizers of the protest.
The project expresses artistically the anger of Valbona through the visual side and the river's voice that will reecho in the centre of the capital as an alarm for reflection and stopping of the destruction of the Albanian treasures.
This form of art-protest tries to give Valbona the strength to self-protest publicly.
The concept of the river itself 'flooding' the square in protest is preceded by the countless protests organised in Valbona and Tirana to stop the construction of hydro-power in the National Park. Also local community is involved in several legal struggles to protect the Park. It was only 10 years ago that the mountain villages in the park opened their isolated community to the world, and the Valbona Valley National Park is now considered to be one of the best outdoors destinations in Europe.
There is a lot at stake, and scientists confirm their concerns. A recent study revealed that 49 European freshwater species would either become extinct or lose 50 to 100% of their Balkan distribution due to cumulative hydro-power projects in the region. The proliferation of hydro-power should additionally consider climate change: South East Europe faced severe droughts last year, resulting in energy crises. Yet the number of small hydropower plants are constantly increasing, despite risks.