TIRANA, February 16
Johann Georg Von Hahn wrote on his Albanesische Studien that the ancient city of Lezha (Lissus) was on the sea coast. Whether Hahn was mistaken or not, Lezha might become a waterfront city considering the fast pace of coastal erosion in the area.
Based on the finding of the ‘Mapping of Environmental Issues along the Albanian Coastline’ report published by EcoAlbania, Lezha has the highest estimated rate of coastal erosion in Albania. Meanwhile, the annual average coastal recession rate is two to three meters. More specifically, the coasts more at risk of disappearing are in the area of Kune-Vain Lagoon. The main factors are related both to climate change and human activity. In Lezha’s case, the main reasons why the coasts are diapering include exploitation of streambeds for building materials, destruction of vegetation, and the construction of Hydro Power Plant dams on the cascade of the Drin River.
Coastal erosion has many consequences on lagoon habitats, ecosystem balance, land loss, building destruction, and on the revenues of activities that depend on blue assets such as recreation and hospitality. Beachgoers are no longer going to Kune-Vain Lagoon in Lezha, the report points out.
Meanwhile, the main causes of coastal erosion in Durres include the destruction of vegetation, climate change itself, and the illegal extraction of riverbed materials. Spille is considered the most impacted by coastal erosion.
In Vlora’s case, the report points out that the extraction of riverbed materials, destruction of vegetation, and lack of proper sewerage networks are the main causes of coastal erosion.
In Albania like elsewhere in the world, coastal zones are immensely crucial for ecosystems providing habitats for vast flora and fauna as well as for sustainable economic development. Disappearing coasts will cause huge environmental and socio-economic damage.
Hence Eco Albania highlights the need for greater public awareness on environmental and coastal erosion issues, in depth-studies, afforestation programs, and increased participation and transparency on the institutional level.
Photo: marine erosion in the Adriatic Coast, credit: Rrushkulli