April 15, 2024, 19:20

Potential release of hazardous substances as well as pollution from downed drones into the Danube and the Black Sea could have far-reaching consequences for the entire region – Birgit Vogel

russia’s war against Ukraine has not only jeopardized the safety of the Black Sea and Azov Sea region, but also cast a shadow of environmental uncertainty over the Danube River basin. In addition to already significant human casualties resulting in russia’s aggression on Ukraine, the escalating situation has raised alarming environmental concerns, which may pose a threat to the environment and water status of the Danube River, its basin and, accordingly, the Black Sea. The repeated attacks on Ukrainian Danube River ports serve as stark reminders of human, economic and the environmental tolls of conflict.

Birgit Vogel, Executive Secretary of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), made this statement during the Second Black Sea Security Conference.

“From the onset the ICPDR has diligently highlighted the environmental risks posed to the Danube basin and beyond. Underscoring the urgency, with which we must address these challenges we have released a related press statement in summer 2023. The environmental implications of the conflict cannot be understated by security concerns, which are of course and rightfully in the foreground of the discussion here. Let us not forget the crucial role that the environmental sustainability plays in ensuring overall long-term stability. The potential release of hazardous substances, such as oil products and chemicals, as well as pollution from expired drones into the Danube and the Black Sea could have far-reaching consequences for the entire region. While the primary focus really remains on addressing the security threats posed by the conflict, the ICPDR focuses on anticipating and mitigating the environmental impacts. Collaboration among nations and international organizations is paramount to us,” she explained.

Birgit Vogel emphasized that the connection between the ecological situation in the Danube basin and the Black Sea is directly related. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure ecological balance both in the Danube and in the water area of the Black Sea.

“We are determined to continue what has become our mission to make the Danube river basin, and also the Black Sea, cleaner, healthier and safer. We have a unique responsibility to focus on the protection of water resources and environmental sustainability by addressing these issues alongside our counterparts in defense and foreign affairs,” she added. 


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