E40 Inland Waterway Project | UPSC
Dredging of river near Chernobyl could spell disaster for 28 million in Ukraine
WHY IN NEWS:
Pripyat river is being drained as part of the E40 inland navigation project to connect the Baltic and Black Seas
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Environmental degradation
- The Pripyat river flows from northwestern Ukraine to its confluence with the Dnieper river, Ukraine’s most important river, on which its capital city of Kiev is located.
- On April 26, 1986, a blast occurred at the No.4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near Pripyat city in the then Soviet Ukraine.
SOURCES : EUROMAIDEN
- The Pripyat river passes through the exclusion zone established around the site.
- The city of Pripyat, with a population of 45,000, was completely evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster .
- The dredging of the Pripyat river that began recently, is being done at eight locations, four of which lie barely a few kilometres from the remains of reactor No.4.
- Some 28 million people downstream who depend on the Dnieper river for water and food, could be at increased radiation risk .
- The Pripyat will become a permanent source of radioactive contaminants because annual dredging .
- This would contaminate the water supply of eight million people, including the population of Kiev.
- While irrigation and the use of dredged soil for agriculture could contaminate crops that 20 million Ukrainians depend upon.
- Changes to the hydrology of the region where E40 is being built — Polesia — could also dry out its peatlands, turning an important carbon sink into a serious carbon source.
E40 INLAND WATERWAY
- The E40 Inland Waterway (E40 IWW) is a transnational project .
- It consists of the following rivers and canals: Vistula, Bug (new canal to be built), Mukhavets, Pina, Pripyat and Dnieper.
- The reconstruction plans of the E40 mention building a bypass canal in Poland, six or seven dams and locks in the Pripyat.
- Dredging is necessary on the entire route so that multi tonnage river-sea vessels can follow the course of the rivers.
- The biggest part of the capital investments (around EUR 12 billion) is directed to the Polish section of the route Vistula—Brest.
- These include 29 protected areas in Poland, some of which are part of the Natura 2000 network, about 27 areas in Ukraine.
- This including two natural reserves, six national parks and the Chernobyl Radiation and Environmental Biosphere Reserve.
- The E40 Waterway is a large infrastructural project which will affect various rivers, regions, several protected areas, including national parks, Ramsar sites and Natura 2000 areas.
- The waterway would go through the Chernobyl exclusion zone .
- Financially the E40 IWW can only be implemented if foreign investors provide the required financing for the project.