General outlook of the environmental situation in Albania

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For several years now, Albania has been undergoing vibrant urban developments, which has at the same time had a considerable impact on the environment. Consumption and transport growth, urban waste, inerts, sewerage finding its way to the sea or river, uncontrolled chopping of the forests, digging into the basins of the rivers, tire burning, construction without proper planning are only some of the byproducts of such environmental impact. Often people do not realize that the environment that surrounds us (even without us noticing) has a direct effect in our lifestyle and quality of life. As a result they tend to reamin indifferent towards environmental issues until nature strikes with violence (e.g. floodings).

In fact, environmental issues are a cost that all countries are paying for their development. Consequently, often the indicators of energy, transport and environment are analyzed together, since it is almost impossible for them not to impact each-other. Despite the developed countries undertaking serious commitments to lead by example on environmental initiatives in order to prove that not always the industrial development is matched by environmental pollution. The signing of Protocols such as the Kyoto one for decrease of emmissions show that countries have substantially increased their awareness towards environment, because of this relates to the lives of their citizens. Even more important is the Protocol of Gothenburg which determined the maximum level of emission for teh four most dangerous air pollutants that cause acid rains.

In this regard, the data on environment indicators is very important because it helps in creting policies and strategies, setting objectives and even more importantly determining the steps to be taken. All these indicators taken together help to create a clear picture of the situation, and assist the decision makers to become more efficient in their work, and also help the public, businesses, foreign investors, etc.

It is for these reasons that Open Data Albania has written a number of articles related to the environmental indicators, comparing them time after time with the average of the EU countries. In many cases the numbers are alarming. Pollution in some cosatal areas is 6-15 times over the allowed levels, and the urban waste is ever increasing while only a small part is recycled. Generally they are burned. Endless problems are related to the treatment of the hospital waste, chemicals traveling to the rivers, the polluted air in the capital, dust created from the construction of commercial buildings, or the accoustic pollution in the urban areas.

A major problem is also the administration of the water sources and the designated fishing areas. Despite all these issues the Report on the State of Environment 2009, published by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Administration of Waters lists our country as having a clean and healthy environment (page 6). Perhaps Albania is not one of the most polluted countries of the world, nevertheless the government should take urgent measures to stop the environmental massacre and simultaneously take concrete steps to improve the current situation. In its analysis Open Data Albania has come to the conclusion that Albania does not suffer from lack of strategy, plan of measures or objectives in paper, as the list is fairly long. To this day Albania has:

  • Signed 7 International Conventions for different environmental issues ;
  • Created 7 Developmental Strategies for different aspects of the environment;
  • Passed over 20 laws approving different International Protocols, Agreements and Ammendments;
  • Over 20 ammendments of existing laws;
  • Over 80 Council of Ministers decisions related directly to environment  ;
  • Over 20 Directives and over  5 Regulations etj.

What is indispensable is the enactment of these laws and other undertakings, and furthermore the will to see through the measures in process aiming at protecting the environment (the case of lead ovens in Kruje). Still , even in terms of creating proper strategies and outlining proper steps for their implementation there is a lot of work to be done in order to address all the environmental issues that Albania faces today.





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      Contributer: Blerta Zilja, M.Sc
      Translated by: Open Data Albania
      Edited by: Open Data Albania