From Endri Haxhiraj and Edvin Pacara
After cutting forests in Librazhd, permitting the construction of dams in Vjosë, today the cement comes very close to the house of every citizen of Tirana. Outside the political parties, a group of citizens gathered on Sunday 21 February to protect for the Lake Park in Tirana. They wanted the park to preserve the identity, say no to the cement and cutting. Removing the poles of the site within the park perimeter had a cost to the protesters: violence, insults, punches and arrests. What they saw was such a violence as the policeman were in the front of a criminal group. But no! They were young children, elderly, students, environmental activists, professors, engineers, aware citizens and other activists protesters who think differently.
According to FAO statistics the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture in 2012 were:
o Animals ruminants (mainly cattle) with 40% CH4
o Ruminants faeces on the ground with 16% of N2O
o Synthetic fertilizers by 13%
o Management of animal by 7% N2O
According to FAO, while transport and industry that emit 84% of greenhouse gases in 2012 and the plan to reduce 60% in 2050, livestock emitting 16% of greenhouse will increase its emissions to 40% in by the year 2015. For this reason, livestock farming needs special attention on climate change.
It is believed that carbohydrates used as feed to cattle produce less methane than forage diets. The effects are clear with 90% concentrate produce 2-3% CH4.
Wheat needed to concentrate can be used directly as human food as need a high amount of flour to feed the cows. Or can be used for chickens that produce less CH4. According the study, the amount of concentrate can be reduced without reducing production or CH4 growth through increased forage quality which does not affect the rumen microbial populations. (Nitrogen, carbohydrate, lipid studies, Pekka Huhtanen)
According to a metastudy between cows rumen ammonia and urea milk, urea in milk unit are lower compared with the manipulation of the diet version. Rumen ammonia and urea milk are positively associated with dietary digestion.
Other studies show that low CH4 production per unit are a conseguence of the increase of production, but the liberation of nitrogen per unit increases and this depends on the amount of conversion of nitrogen in N2O. In this way, greenhouse gases may not change but N2O emissions will increase.
Also, reducing ruminal degradibile protein may reduce the efficiency of nitrogen microbial synthesis leading to overall benefit of reducing protein ruminal degradibile less than expected.
o Potential reduction of CH4 from animal nutrition is limited.
o Increase of concentrates has increased cost and health problems while the wheat can be used directly as food for man.
o Increased protein supplements may reduce CH4 per unit product but increases the release of N and increasing the cost of food.
The Institute for Environmental Policy (Albania) and Grashnica Ohrid (Macedonia), have implemented parallel projects for introducing new ways of water protection and water management in the Lake Ohrid basin in Albania and Macedonia during 2014-2015; the two parallel projects were financed by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Projects were implemented in the framework of climate change effects that will affect the area of Lake Ohrid basin.
The conclusions from our projects showed that Lake Ohrid basin is an area with relatively small population, but with big and urgent problems that mostly stem from lack of awareness on solutions and best methods tried elsewhere, which has been successful in minimizing water wasting and water pollution.
1. In order to minimize water use from agriculture in the area, and minimize pollution that goes in Ohrid Lake, we recommend to the local authorities and farmer the introduction and use of drip irrigation, a technique which will save a lot of water which is now taken from streams that feed Ohrid Lake (and sometimes directly from Ohrid Lake), and minimize run off, which sends loads of nutrients and other chemicals to the lake, thus creating eutrophication and pollution. Drip irrigation is an affordable technique, with savings being bigger than the effect that traditional way of irrigation through open canals has on the environment and ecosystems.
2. We recommend the use of constructed wetlands for wastewater in small populated areas or settlements, where the amount of polluted water is not big and can be treated using wetlands which will minimize or eliminate the extra pollutants and nutrients which now empty directly in Ohrid Lake. Constructed wetlands are a cheap and natural way of filtering wastewater, and also they are a way to create ecosystems and biomass. The costs of building wetlands are low and affordable for area of Ohrid Lake.
3. We recommend and urge the local and central authorities to do more to prevent pollution from solid waste, especially plastic waste, which is harming the ecosystems and the lake, posing threats not only to biodiversity, but also to the health of people and preventing the development of further tourism in some areas. We urge the local authorities to implement the “stick and carrot” method, by doing more on awareness raising on littering and on implementing stringent measures for those that litter.
4. We recommend to the international donors and to local authorities of Lake Ohrid basin from Albania and Macedonia, to support more youth exchange initiatives related to exchanging of experiences and awareness raising on protecting the lake, as a unique patrimony shared between the two countries.
The full position paper can be read here
This publication is financially supported by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, in the frame of “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow In Ohrid Lake Region” project.
“The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.”
Pollution of Lake Ohrid from waste and sewage water from one hand and the use of its water for agricultural needs on the other hand are a serious threat to the ecosystem of the lake. Awareness of local residents is unfortunately not at the right level.
Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) believes that those who can give a long-term guarantees for the conservation of the Lake are young people who live in these areas. If young people of different ages are aware, they will definitely affect the awareness of their families, friends and other people. Passion and youth volunteerism for the lake protection is expressed in some cases, such as cleaning action for Lin area in November this year by the elementary school Myredin Bashalli in the village of Lin, Pogradec. In this context, IEP held a meeting with pupils of 8th and 9th grade of this school in order to know them with some environmental conservation practices for Ohrid Lake and some of the project findings “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow in Ohrid Lake Region”.
The meeting was welcomed by the director of the school Mr Agron Qyshkollari and vice. director of IEP Mr. Endri Haxhiraj. Conservation practices and pilot project were presented by Mr. Rodion Gjoka. The activity was made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
On 24 November 2015, in the village of Lin, the Institute for Environmental Policy held a meeting with the Lin community representatives. The participation was estimable, the village reeve, the school director, supervisor of the water pump, environmental inspector for Pogradec, entrepreneurial family business, young unemployeds ect.
At the meeting, IEP rapresentants, Endri Haxhiraj, Rodion Gjoka and Edvin Pacara recognized the participants with project findings concerning the pollution in the area of Lin and opportunities to prevent and combat this phenomenon and protect the lake. Rodion Gjoka presented how some simple techniques through drip irrigation can save water, whether to fight drought as a result of climate change, and to be independent from the lake water. The meeting also discussed other techniques such as rainwater storage, agriculture buffer zone and composting. Endri Haxhiraj highlighted Lin as a potential tourist area, which requires determination in maintaining a clean environment and to protection it.
IEP prepared a guide of best practices that was delivered to the participants and other residents of this community. Pilot project for Lin found is attached (Albanian version/ soon it will be translated). The publications and activities were made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
PROJEKTI PILOT PG 2015
On 24 November, in the frame the project “Developing Sustainable Water Management Practices to Conserve Environmental Flow in Ohrid Lake Region”, funded by CEPF, the Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) held a meeting with representatives of Pogradec Municipality and its administrators, water specialists, the Koran growth plant in Lin village, local and regional environmental inspectorate, Macedonian NGOs working within Ohrid lake etc.
At this meeting, IEP presented the strategy for water and climate change management in order to protect and preserve the ecosystems in the basin of Lake Ohrid. This document sets out the issues of long and short term measures to be taken.
Another paper presented at the meeting was, the pilot project “Efficient Irrigation in defense of Lake Ohrid,” deals with the implementation of a full cycle of water management for the area of Lin. It explains the Scada system and drip irrigation components, ways of water management and conservation, buffer zones and sanitation, and measures to be taken. Macedonian colleagues from Grashanica organization presented a broader perspective on the management of Lake Ohrid.
The meeting was greeted by the Deputy Mayor of Pogradec, expressing his appreciation and desire for the implementation of such projects when funds will be available.
Numerous discussions were addressed by the participants on topics such as lack of awareness for the waste disposal, the fishing association as regulator of fishing on the lake, the investments made in the sector of water management, the need of wetlands etc.
This is the opening meeting of a series of activities to be undertaken in the Municipality of Pogradec. The pilot project and the strategy proposed by the IEP will be available in English soon (attached the Albanian version). Publications and activities were made possible by a grant awarded by Birdlife International and DOPPS, through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
Strategjia PG 2015
This documentary was produced under the program SENiOR-A “Support for Environmental Organizations of Civil Society in Albania 2012-2015”. This documentary presents moments from the civil society organizations activities in the implementation of the program.
On November 20, 2015, Tirana became the host of the annual meeting of the International Political Animal Parties. The meeting brought together representatives of animal parties from Britain, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Serbia, Cyprus, Israel, Australia, the USA, Finland and for the first time Albania.
Topics of discussion that were highlighted are the opportunities that a political party has to improve the situation, sustenaible strengthening of the parties, broader goals such as water and fond security, the ban on international transport of animals, game meat and the exploitation of animals for tourism purpouse etc.
The meeting was also attended by the Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP) as local NGO with its representatives Endri Haxhiraj, Sara Gonella and Cristina De Carolis. IEP briefed the participants on the current situation of stray animals in Albania, current issues and future challenges.
This international meeting on animal protection is a particular activity because it is the first of its kind to be held in Albania implying that this is the time that Albanians should further engage in animal protection and similar issues.
On 24 October 2015, the scientific agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) called the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC, publicly evaluated (http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/) that the consumption of red meat and processed meat can cause cancer. The research group composed of 22 experts from 10 different countries, assumed that the consumption of processed meat is carcinogenic (ability to cause cancer) and red meat as a potential carcinogen in humans.
The reaction of the public in many countries was significant given the demands for clarification they addressed to the WHO.
Despite broad public reaction, this news is not new. IARC, the 50 years experience WHO agency, has recommended since 2002 that moderate consumption of meat may reduce the risk for cancer (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2015/processed-meat-cancer/en/).
In this regard, various health and environmental organizations have conducted public campaigns from years raising attention on the impact of meat-based diet and health problems. Their campaigns had formal scientific arguments of the time. Years ago, the scientific panel consisting of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) stated finding evidence on the link between cancer and diet. They suggested that “the diet that contains sufficient amounts of diverse vegetable and fruit will prevent 20% or more the appearance of all types of cancer.”
In Albania, the Institute for Environmental Policy has developed a series of public events with this theme starting from 2009, as the promotional campaign of the healthy plant based diet, meetings with young people, publications, conferences on breast and colon cancer and the diet implication, with new medicine professionals etc.
Recent public expression of WHO confirms once again that consumers should be particularly careful when consuming food products to prevent dangerous diseases to him and his family.
Albanian WHO public announce: http://vizionplus.al/7pa5-raporti-i-obsh-se-29-tetor-2015/
27 October 2015
Most active youth from the YEP (Youth for Energy Policy) network, with the support of the Institute of Environmental Policy and the invitation by Parliament, took part in the voting session of the Energy Efficiency draft law by the Commission for Productive Activities, Trade and Environment.
In this working session, YEP young professionals had the opportunity to hear the views of the committee and to assess the possibilities and the areas where they can contribute in the future. This event paves the way for further cooperation of the YEP network and the Commission, the exchange of suggestions for the actual draft law and the next drafts.