ALBANIA: Tourism Brings Environmental Challenge
By Vesna Peric Zimonjic
TIRANA, Albania, Jun 25 (IPS) - It was not so long ago that Albania, a tiny nation of 3.1 million in the western Balkans remained off route for hundreds of thousands of tourists who rushed to the Adriatic coast for their summer vacations.
But things have changed in this part of the world, and thousands of visitors now undertake what seems to be a very logical journey: they continue south from the beautiful Croatian and Montenegrin coasts to explore Albania.
Albania, they discover, is a land of unexpected beauty, breathtaking mountains and a stunning 362 km coast……………..
But Xhemail Mato, who heads the Association for Environmental Protection, is concerned about the environment, which began to suffer after 1991. The country lacked proper regulation in the 1990s, but was not short of entrepreneurs seeking quick profit. They abused the legal vacuum, and created chaos through unregulated construction.
“Tourism is the only chance for Albania, in the economic and development sense, as we barely produce anything,” Mato said. “However, development is quicker than regulation; destruction of the environment is faster than the rise of awareness among the people.” Mato rides a bicycle around Tirana, a city of 750,000 with more than 200,000 cars.
Albania has seen an explosion of construction, particularly in the coastal area closest to Tirana, where a new highway was built to Durres, some 40 km to the west.
This is one of the rare new roads in a country which needs dozens more along major interest points in order to attract more tourists.
Vividly painted high rises, mostly built without permission in the past decade, have crowded Durres. No one thought about the environment; laws came later.******
Sewage was channelled into the sea, close to beaches. No one was familiar with waste management, landfills or dumpsites. Garbage is still sometimes simply burned.
“What was done was done, but we have to improve it,” Mato said. “Durres is, unfortunately, a good lesson for a bad example in Albania.” (END/2007)
****** the construction la 7663, forbit all kind of construction 300 Meter from sea site (only with permission with the law 7665 and a permission from the council of the republik of albania) ! They have a law, since 1993!!!!!