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Return Sasyk to the Sea?

Activists who demanded re-naturalization of Sasyk bay encountered resistance from authorities

18.09.2008 |Anna Samwel

On 24th of August 500 local people, scientists, NGO's and local authorities demonstrated for the reversion of the environmental and social disaster caused by the dam closing the Sasyk estuary off from the Black sea in Odessa oblast, Ukraine.

They dug a symbolic trench across the dam to urge the decision makers in Ukraine to re-naturalize the ecosystem by re-connecting the Sasyk lake to the sea. WECF representatives witnessed how the 500 women, children and men of different age raised their voice against an injustice that was done to them and their children by a totalitarian regime 30 years ago, demanding their right for a healthy environment. We noticed the enormous hope of these people for a solution from the government, but also that they are ready to take more radical action and sacrifice themselves to protect their rights and that of the future generation, if there will be no other way. WECF is supporting the action with focusing international attention on the problem and by writing letters to Ukrainian urging them to respect the rights of the local population and the international conventions that they have signed such as RAMSAR, Arhus and the Bucharest convention.

After the action with the population, the activists stayed on the dam waiting for the authorities to give a positive reaction. The Gubernator of Odessa brought after several days a declaration to the dam where he promised to conduct a study for opening the dam. This is the best possible result that could be expected. The authorities recently appointed a commission consisting of mainly opponents of re-naturalization, proposing a far too expensive study of irrelevant issues. In several public meetings the population and the activist declared their demands for an independent research group to conduct the study that will result in re-naturalizing the Sea bay Sasyk.

International experts are needed to provide the technical specialist knowledge of re-naturalizing the ecosystem. The activists from Tatarbunary turned to WECF to help finding the right specialists.

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