‘Don’t Touch Valbona’, and ‘Stop to the Hydro-Power Plants’. Well known jazz singers have scheduled free concerts in Albania on two hot environmental issues - adding a powerful boost to the green campaigns.

Albanian singers are helping to raise awareness of two hot environmental issues - the planned construction of hydropower plants on the Valbona river, one of Europe's last wild rivers, and the adoption of law once again allowing waste imports.

Two well-known jazz singers living and working abroad, Elina Duni in Switzerland and Eda Zari in Germany, are organizing two free concerts dedicated to these environmental issues at the end of October back home in Albania.

The first will be on October 29 in Valbona, in the country's mountains, where the message of the singers will be opposition to the planned building of dams on the river of that name.

They will be backing the months-long campaign of environmentalist, local inhabitants and other citizens against the hydropower plants, which greens say will have a devastating impact.

One day later, on October 30, another concert will be held in Tirana, where this time opposition to the waste import law will be in focus.

On September 28th, 2016, at 8 o’clock in the morning, bulldozers were put into position in Dragobi and the Maskollata region of Valbona National Park. By 11 o’clock in the morning, the mountains echoed with the sound of destruction. Today’s actions are the latest in a battle which began in January 2016, when plans were learned to construct 14 hydropower plants along just 30 km of the Valbona River, 8 of which are wholly with the National Park. Following the formal legal process, local people filed numerous official complaints with various governmental agencies, regarding everything from the poor quality of Environmental procedures to the lack of public information to the economic risks resulting from the projects. At the same time, much energy was invested in public demonstrations, in order to draw national and media attention.

The concerns of local people were heard and adopted by national and international organizations including WWF, EuroNatur and Riverwatch, who added their voices in appeals to various governmental bodies at the highest levels. Unfortunately, there has been little or no response to date from the Albanian Government. A few complaints were formally acknowledged. One response was sent, carefully referencing someone else’s complaint (nothing to do with the complaint which was actually filed). In no case was any concrete action taken, and in no case was any requested information sent./AgroWeb.org