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The Dragon's Beard Belongs to Ukraine

Romania's "Danube Delta Disaster" Hoax Exposed

Lubomyr Prytulak

First published 06-Mar-2005  21:00 Vancouver time
Last updated 21-Apr-2005  15:26 Vancouver time

  Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1. The BBC Report  @
    2. Does Leo Platvoet Have A Conflict Of Interest?  @
    3. A Firestorm Of Protest Against Ukraine  @
    1. The Danube Within Europe  @
    2. The Danube River and Basin  @
    3. The Danube Delta  @
      1. Essential landmarks  @
      2. Which of the three main Danube branches is best suited for shipping?  @
      3. A first glance at the Bystre Channel  @
    1. Romania Is The Danube River's Worst Polluter  @
      1. Big spills  @
      2. Chronic leakage  @
      3. Intentional discharge  @
      4. Comparative statistics  @
    2. Romania Has Been Guilty Of Wholesale Exploitation Of Danube Delta Wilderness  @
      1. Areas A and B have been converted to agricultural use  @
      2. And yet many recent maps show Areas A and B as undeveloped wetland  @
      3. What happened?  @
      4. Romania's Caraorman Industrialization Project  @
    3. Romania Is Straightening The George Channel  @
    4. Romania Builds A Tourist Resort Within A UNESCO Strictly Protected Zone  @
    5. Romania May Be Building Three Superhighways Within The Danube Delta  @
    6. Romania Has Been Stealing Ukraine's Water  @
      1. The allegation is made  @
      2. Shortcuts bypass six meanders in the George  @
      3. Shortcuts bypass two meanders in the Sulina  @
      4. Five canals drain water out of the George  @
      5. The Crisan and Caraorman Canals drain water out of the Sulina  @
      6. Nazi blocking of Soviet Navy from the Danube slows water flow through the Starostambulske  @    NEW 21-Apr-2005
      7. Izmailsky-Fork Causeway diverts water into Romania  @
      8. Romania dumps Sulina and Tulcea dredging into the Kilia  @
      9. Summary of Romanian water theft  @
    7. Elementary Comparisons   @
      1. Birds killed by Romanian hunting compared to birds killed by Ukrainian canal construction  @
      2. Birds killed by Romanian pollution compared to birds killed by Hungarian pollution  @
      3. Ukrainian harm to animals compared to Romanian harm to humans  @
      4. Trivial consequences of Ukraine's Bystre Canal project compared to monstrous consequences of Romania's Rosia Montana project  @
    1. Does The Bystre Encroach On UNESCO Strictly Protected Zones In Romania?  @
    2. Does The Bystre Encroach On UNESCO Strictly Protected Zones In Ukraine?  @
    3. Did Ukraine Amend Its Kernzonen?  @
    4. Is It That Simple?  @
    1. Romanian Arrogance Calls For Explanation  @
    2. Romania Is Not Motivated To Protect The Environment  @
    3. Romania Is Motivated To Preserve Its Monopoly  @
    4. Romania Is Motivated To Acquire Ukrainian Oil And Gas  @
    5. Romania Is Motivated By Irredentist Longing  @
      1. Romanians yearn for their Greater Romania  @
      2. The Romanian seizure of Bukovyna in 1918  @
      3. The Khotyn uprising of 1919  @
      4. The Tatarbunary uprising of 1924  @
      5. How Romania acquired Transnistria in 1941  @
      6. How Romania rewarded Basil Bilivsky for encouraging people to study Ukrainian  @
      7. How Romania treats Ukrainians today  @
      8. Irredentist anger may help explain the arrogance with which Romania opposes the Bystre Canal  @
      9. Romania needs to educate its backward  @
    6. Romania Is Emboldened By NATO Support  @
    1. What If Europe Polluted The Danube As Little As Ukraine Does?  @
    2. What If Europe Diverted As Little Danube Water As Ukraine Does?  @
    3. What If Europe Paid For Biodiversity In Proportion To What It Expects Ukraine To Pay?  @
    1. Map Library  @
    2. Big Romanian Toxic Spills  @
    3. Washington Demonstration Photographs  @
    4. Table Romanian Pollution Accidents 2000  @
    5. Rosia Montana Photographs  @
    6. No Dirty Gold  @
    7. Dragons Can Have Beards  @
    8. Romania Diverts Danube  @
    9. Ukraine and Romania Fight Over Oil-Rich Seas  @
    10. RFE/RL discusses Snake Island  @

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The following discussion of the Romanian "Danube Delta Disaster" hoax is based on the best information available at the time of writing, most of it gathered from the Internet.  As this information was typically vague, erroneous, and fragmentary, it had to be regarded as supplying clues from which an underlying reality might be inferred.  As better information comes in, revisions will probably be called for, and will be made as resources permit.

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External link to Ukrainian Ministry of Transport and Communications Danube page
The Ukrainian response to what is essentially a Romanian disinformation campaign is beginning to gather momentum.  A rare source opposing the flood of disinformation is the Danube page on Ukraine's Ministry of Transport and Communications web site available in English at www.mtu.gov.ua/international/danube/indexe.html, and with a more extensive version available in Ukrainian at  www.mtu.gov.ua/international/danube/index.html.

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1.   The BBC Report

The BBC indicts Ukraine for a "Danube Delta Disaster" which it expects will result from Ukraine's Bystre Canal project (spelled in at least the variations Bystroe, Bystroye, Bystraya, Bastroe, Bâstroe, Bystroi, Bustryi, and Bystryy):

Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 13:16 GMT

Danube Delta disaster fears grow
By Mirela Rus
BBC Romanian Service, Bucharest

A Ukrainian project to build a maritime canal in the Danube Delta — an ecologically rich wetland area — has aroused international concern among environmental officials and activists.

The delta is home to a wide variety of species, including pelicans

The Bystroye canal project could have serious and irreversible effects on the Danube Delta ecosystem, says a draft report by Council of Europe rapporteur Leo Platvoet, a Dutch MP who visited the area.

The delta is under Unesco protection as a biosphere reserve — designated a Natural World Heritage Site in 1991.

It is recognised as one of the world's largest wetlands under the international Ramsar classification, providing a habitat for 312 bird species and about 90 fish species.

Ukraine says the canal is designed to offer an alternative navigational route.  The only existing way for ships to sail from the Danube to the Black Sea is the Sulina canal, built on Romanian territory more than 100 years ago.

Ukraine claims that shipping taxes on the Sulina canal are high and that the creation of an alternative route would open up access to the Danube harbours, providing an important economic boost for Ukraine.

It also argues that the construction project itself would create more than 4,000 new jobs.

Environmental warnings

  • Labyrinth of lakes, channels and islands
  • Total area: 626,403 hectares
  • Largest European wetland and reed bed
  • Home to 312 bird species, 90 fish species
  • Rare species include European mink, wildcat, freshwater otter, monk seal
  • Vital for local fishermen, hunters, reed harvesters
  • But environmental bodies have repeatedly warned of the likely impact of the canal on the Danube Delta.

    Romanian experts say that dredging the Bystroye canal could result in an acceleration of water flow in the area.

    The new canal will draw some of the water flowing now via other branches of the Danube.  That will disturb the natural balance of the delta, says Romulus Stiuca of the Romanian Danube Delta Institute.

    Some of the unique attractions of the delta might also be harmed.

    One such place is the Letea tropical forest, which is hundreds of years old and the only place in Europe where one can find lianas — climbing plants that hang from trees.

    The water source for the Letea forest will be drastically reduced, affecting the trees, Romanian environmental experts warn.

    They say the reduction of water levels would also affect Europe's largest pelican colony, which lives in the Rosca-Buhaiova lakes area.

    'Worst solution'

    In all, they say the impact could be compared to that of the Sulina canal when it was built — more pollution, fewer fish and the disappearance of various species across a 10km-wide (six-mile) area north and south of the channel.

    The Ukrainian plan to build a maritime canal in the Danube Biosphere Reserve was reported by the World Wide Fund for Nature at the end of 2002.

    Fishing is a vital activity for many communities in the delta

    A year later, a Unesco mission of representatives from the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the "Man and Biosphere" programme analysed the three possible versions of a maritime canal and concluded that the Bystroye version "would represent the worst solution".

    However, the Ukrainian authorities chose the Bystroye route and construction work on the canal began on 11 May.

    Under international treaties, Ukraine should have put together an impact study to evaluate the possible effects of the construction work on the environment.

    The impact study should have been presented to the Romanian authorities.

    International pressure

    Ukraine did not comply with this and Romania asked its neighbour repeatedly to stop the construction work.

    As it did not receive a reply, Romania notified the Secretariat of the Berne Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats.

    Work has already started on the Ukrainian canal

    In July, after visiting the Bystroye construction site, a mission of the Convention and the Council of Europe called on the government of Ukraine "to immediately suspend ongoing works in the Bystroye canal estuary and abandon implementation of phase two of the project, for the purpose of preventing any significant modification of natural habitats of species" living in the delta.

    At that point the Ukrainian authorities appeared to give in to international pressure and presented a report on the Bystroye project.

    But despite international protests, Ukraine continued dredging and on 26 August inaugurated the first phase of the canal.  Work is now taking place on the Chilia branch.

    The Bystroye project is backed by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

    Damage limitation

    But there might be a change of direction if opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko emerges as the winner of this weekend's presidential elections in Ukraine.

    He has shown an interest in forging closer ties with western Europe, so the calls for construction to be halted might well be heeded.

    Meanwhile Romania, home to more than 80% of the Danube Delta, is preparing its own damage limitation plan.

    According to Virgil Munteanu, governor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, the plan will be finalised by 25 November, then the authorities and specialists will have to implement it before it is too late.


    2.  Does Leo Platvoet Have A Conflict Of Interest?

    Dutch MP Leo Platvoet gathering facts on the Danube Delta assembly.coe.int/~.

    Dutch-built Romanian dredger "Dunarea"

    A leader in the current criticism of Ukraine is Dutch MP Leo Platvoet, as was disclosed at the top of the above BBC story: "The Bystroye canal project could have serious and irreversible effects on the Danube Delta ecosystem, says a draft report by Council of Europe rapporteur Leo Platvoet, a Dutch MP who visited the area."  However, the impression that Ukraine's dredging of the Bystre Channel is harmful to the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, and by implication that complainant Romania does not itself engage in dredging within the Reserve, is inaccurate, and in fact is quite the opposite of the truth.

    Dredging is inescapable because the Danube annually brings a vast amount of silt, estimates varying somewhat:  up to 52 million tonnes 
    www.accobams.org/~, an average of 58.7 million tons www.danubedeltatours.ro/~, or an average of 122 million tons  daac.gsfc.nasa.gov/~.

    In the face of the Danube annually discharging such a mass of solid material, undredged channels would silt over, and traffic would become restricted to boats of shallow draught.  As Romania has held a virtual monopoly on Danube to Black Sea shipping, most of this dredging has been done, and today continues to be done, by Romania, and most of it is carried on at Sulina, which is within the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve:

    The total yearly quantity to be dredged on the Lower Danube was estimated to be around 2,100,000 m3, of which the major part has to be dredged at the Sulina Bar, especially in the spring when the Danube carries down large quantities of sediment.

    IHC Holland Dredging Foundation  www.ihcholland.com/~

    Romania's dredging the above-mentioned 2.1 million cubic meters annually compares with dredging the Bystre being estimated at one-sixth that amount, or 200,000 cubic meters www.nfi.at/~.

    With Romanian dredging, IHC Holland Dredging Foundation appears to be in profitable collaboration.  For example, the IHC Holland Dredging Foundation web site lists 126 floating dredgers that it has constructed for customers in Romania between 1965 and 1986, adding at the end of the list that "a considerable number of other types of floating dredgers have been constructed in Romania for local customers."  Featured on the IHC Holland Dredging Foundation web site is the dredger "Dunarea" — not included in the list of 126 above — apparently the pride of the Romanian dredging fleet, which was formally delivered to Romania in the city of Tulcea on 02-Jun-2000, and immediately put to work:

    In a short time the "Dunarea" has succeeded in establishing an overdepth in the navigation channel at the Sulina Bar.  Following these dredging operations, the dredger started to work on the Danube at some considerable distance from the sea.  Here the "Dunarea" also demonstrated her river dredging capabilities.

    IHC Holland Dredging Foundation  www.ihcholland.com/~

    Album by Hanno, "Digger"  gallery.phant.ch/bib2004_hanno/adk

    Romania, then, does not merely dredge, it has a fleet of dredgers at work continuously, such as the one on the right photographed by a tourist in 2004 in the vicinity of the Sulina Canal.  In view of the vast and continuous dredging within the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve carried on by Romania, and in view of Ukraine dredging only a single channel, and in view of the Ukrainian dredging being contracted out to the German firm Mobius, two questions arise: (1) whether Romania is acting not in the interests of the environment, but in the interests of defending a Romanian monopoly on Danube shipping, and (2) whether Dutch intervention is not in the interests of the environment either, but in the interests of defending a Dutch monopoly on supplying dredgers and dredging services to the Lower Danube.

    An inspection of the schedule of Leo Platvoet's "fact-finding" visit to the Danube Delta of 27-31 October 2004 — as reported on the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) web site at assembly.coe.int/~ — suggests that Platvoet restricted his facts to those that he was able to obtain on Romanian territory conferring with Romanian officials, and on which his 29-Oct-2004 calendar required him to meet with nobody and inspect nothing, and on which his 31-Oct-2004 calendar restricted him to gathering his facts from a tour of the "Museum of the Romanian Peasant."

    From such considerations as the above, it may be wondered whether Leo Platvoet's "fact-finding" visit was nothing but a Romanian-funded junket whose effect was to deepen his conviction of the Romanian right to exercise a monopoly on Lower-Danube shipping, and to deepen his conviction of the Dutch right to exercise a monopoly on Lower-Danube dredging.  The BBC story, in its turn, was an assertion of the BBC right to present the anti-environmental shipping and manufacturing interests of the Romanians and the Dutch as alarm at Ukrainian lack of concern for the environment.

    Mr Platvoet is expected to present his final report on The Protection of European Deltas to PACE some time during 2005.  Anyone truly concerned with the environment might wish that the report would be written by someone who did not have as clear a conflict of interest as any Dutch MP has, and who partook of Ukrainian hospitality as much as he did of Romanian hospitality, and who when attempting to gather facts visited not merely the "area" in question, but inspected the actual Bystre Channel, and more importantly who extended his inspection to comparable projects being carried on within Romania as well, and who was able to treat in his report the many issues that relate to the subject, such as those touched on below.

    And perhaps the Dutch would win greater support for their attempts to clean up the environments of others if they first showed greater dedication in cleaning up their own than can be inferred from such reports as the following concerning EU Commission dissatisfaction:

    The Netherlands
    On 10 May 2001, the Court of Justice ruled against the Netherlands on account of its failure to adopt and communicate pollution-reduction programmes for 99 dangerous substances (as foreseen by the Dangerous Substances in Water Directive) in the Scheldt river basin.  It had also failed to fix deadlines for their implementation of these programmes (Case C-152/98).  In December 2002 the Commission sent the Netherlands a final written warning for not complying with the judgement.  The Netherlands has since communicated its pollution reduction programme, but for it to be valid, a programme must have a binding effect and must be published.  The Netherlands's programme fails on both counts.  The Commission has therefore sent the Netherlands an additional final written warning addressing these shortcomings.

    RiverNet International News  www.rivernet.org/prs04_01.htm

    3.  A Firestorm Of Protest Against Ukraine

    The BBC sometimes assumes leadership in the making of intemperate statements:

    Plans are also being considered to construct a navigation canal from the Danube to the Black Sea.  This is controversial, as the canal would destroy the Danube Biosphere Nature Reserve, which is home to many birds, plants and animals, some of which are endangered species.

    BBC www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/~

    Parliament of Romania:

    The Senate of Romania expresses its disapproval and protest at the construction and official inauguration by the Ukrainian authorities, on the 26th of August 2004, of the first part of the Bystroye Canal.  In spite of the numerous steps taken by the Romanian authorities, the criticisms and the position stated by the European Commission, the Council of Europe, some EU member States and the US Department of State, and of protests staged by academic circles and more than 300 ecological organisations world-wide, including those in Kiev, the Ukrainian authorities pursued unilaterally the construction works of the Canal.

    Declaration-Appeal to halt the construction by Ukraine of the Bystroye Canal, Parliament of Romania  www.senat.ro/~

    The U.S. Department of State:

    The United States is deeply concerned about the potential substantial negative environmental impact of a proposed shipping canal sponsored by the Government of Ukraine in the Danube Delta region.  The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on May 11, 2004, and construction has begun.  The planned route for the canal will in all likelihood cause significant environmental destruction to an ecologically sensitive area of the Danube Delta, the Bystre Estuary.

    Adam Ereli, Ukraine Danube Delta Canal Project, U.S. Department of State, 17-May-2004  zwww.state.gov/~

    The United Kingdom Parliament:

    Mr. Morley: The report of the independent on the spot appraisal conducted on behalf of the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention on 2224 July 2004 will propose that the Standing Committee make the following recommendations to the Government of Ukraine:-

    1. to immediately suspend ongoing works in the Bystre canal estuary and abandon implementation of phase two of the project, for the purpose of preventing any significant modification of natural habitats of species listed in appendices I and II of the Convention and settled in the neighbouring maritime and shoreline areas; to carry out in-depth monitoring in physical and biological terms of the evolution of the Bystre estuary and canal; [...]

      16-Sep-2004  www.publications.parliament.uk/~

    European Union:

    The European Commission deeply regrets the reported opening to navigation of the initial part of the Bystroye canal between the River Danube and the Black Sea.  The canal route goes through a specially protected UNESCO World Heritage area in the Danube Delta which is also subject to the international Ramsar Convention on the protection of wetlands.

    Commission Statement on Opening of Bystroye Canal in Ukraine, IP/04/1043 - Brussels, 25 August 2004  europa.eu.int/~

    Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, Council of Europe:

    These conclusions lead us to propose that the Standing Committee make the following recommendations to the government of Ukraine:

    • to immediately suspend ongoing works in the Bystre canal estuary and abandon implementation of phase 2 of the project, for the purpose of preventing any significant modification of natural habitats of species listed in appendices I and II of the Convention [...].

    Hervé Lethier, Possible New File: Shipping canal in the Bystre estuary, Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 31-Aug-2004, p. 11  www.nfi.at/~

    International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR):

    The Ukrainian government, despite pleas from environmentalists, is moving forward with construction and the project is scheduled to be completed next year.  Experts warn that we could be facing the loss of one of the treasures of the Danube River Basin.  [...]

    ICPDR President, Catherine Day, called upon the Government of Ukraine "to halt the future stages of the construction until a proper international evaluation of environmental consequences of the project can be undertaken.

    Natalia Christl and Eugeni Erjomin, The Bystroe Canal: dredging up many questions, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), Danube Watch  www.icpdr.org/~


    The mighty Danube is under attack again

    Thanks to your recent efforts, Austria's planned river works are moving in a better direction. But now a Ukrainian project threatens the Danube Delta, one of Europe's most ecologically important areas.

    The Ukrainian government has started construction on a multi-million US-dollar shipping canal, which will cut right through the Danube Delta.

    The Bystroye canal threatens critical habitats and jeopardizes the region's fishing and tourism industries.  [...]

    An illegal and alarming project

    The building of the canal flouts several international agreements and goes against the concept of international management of shared rivers.  [...]

    Stop the construction and consider alternatives

    Along with other national and international organizations, WWF has offered alternative proposals to the Ukrainian government.

    In spite of this, the government has remained supportive of the most ecologically destructive option.

    WWF  passport.panda.org/~

    Forum of the NGOs from the Danube River Basin:

    As a result of these breaches and barbaric and rushed manner of the construction as well as due to the natural sensitivity of the delta ecosystem, the realization of this project has led to:

    • the death of 2 nesting bird colonies of common (120 nests) and sandwich (950 and 430 nests) terns on the Ptashina Spit;
    • further formation of a mineral deposits in Vostochne Gyrlo southward of the Bystre;
    • damaging the natural complexes of the Yermakov Island while depositing the dredged silt and clay on it.

    Resolution of the Forum of the NGOs from the Danube River Basin www.seu.ru/~

    Environmental Group "Pechenegy":

    The government of Ukraine, from one side is hoping to get status of the EU neighboring country and simultaneously proceeds with the implementation of this inadmissible for civilized country project.  As the answer to official protests Ukrainian authorities openly misinforms other about their activities.

    Sergey Shaparenko, President of the Council Environmental Group "Pechenegy," 21-Jul-2004  www.cedar.at/~

    Danube Environmental Forum (DEF):

    Ukraine has already breached agreements that were set about the months ago — to do the real assesment of the second stage and to do consultations with public, including the groups opposed to the project.  Instead of fullfillment of the promises, Ukrainian authorities are now trying to get rid of the Danube reserve administration.  If the international dialogwould start with participation of current DBR director Alexander Voloshkevich, the truth about the situation in the Danube delta will be brought up on official level, and no room for lies would be left.  Current comfortable for Ukrainian delegation, when it consists only of canal supporters would change for rather uneasy one — when every word of lie would be called a lie by those, who serves and protects the Danube reserve.  This attempt to create visibility of internation dialogue without real changes of situatio is a true reason for resent Prosecutors actions against the Danube reserve.  In this situation, in our opinion, EU, UNESCO, other international entities should condemn the resent action of Ukraine and to demand observation of the previous aggreements and to stop the rights abuse in Ukranine, to immediately stop the prosecution of the Danube reserve administration.  It seems that Ukrainian authorities understand only one language — the language of ultimatum, and therefore all Ukrainian negotiations counterparts should be more firm in their demands.  It should be stated that the only possible Danube reserve representative at the negotiations should be current Danube reserve administration.  deputies and UNESCO MAB [email protected] and to demand stronger position in negotiations with Ukraine. Expressing your posiotion to Ukrainian Embassy in your country will be also very helpful — as Ukranian Foreign affairs minister leads the public misinformation campaign.

    Danube Environmental Forum (DEF), 11-Nov-2004  www.de-forum.org/~

    Socio-Ecological Union:

    Picket near the German embassy in Kyiv

    (Rivne and other organizations

    On May 21 a picket was held near the German embassy in Kiev On May 11th 2004 German firm Josef Mobius Bau-Aktiengesellschaft began deepening works at the Bystroe bed.  More than 20 persons from 10 organizations took part in the picketing.

    Organizer of picketing:
    Ukrainian ecological Association Zeleny Svit
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Participants of picketing:
    Ukrainian ecological Association Zeleny Svit,
    Youth branch of National Ecological Center of Ukraine E-mail: [email protected]
    Kiev Ecology-cultural Center E-mail: [email protected]
    Youth environmental organization Nova Zemlya
    City Youth non-governmental organization Ecoclub (Rivne)
    and other organizations.

    Slogans on the posters (in German):

    Dont support the dirty policy of Ukrainian Ministry of Transport!

    Dont let you in for International scandal!

    German ecologists!  Give us a hand with our efforts!

    Your actions in Danube Biosphere Reserve are illegal!

    Dont destroy in our country what you protect in yours!

    Socio-Ecological Union (Russian web site)  www.seu.ru/~
    Three ukar.org comments concerning the above demonstration:

    1. Even though the demonstration occurred in Ukraine and concerns a Ukrainian ecological question, it is covered by a Russian organization on a Russian web site.  The question arises, therefore, whether some of the opposition to the Ukrainian Bystre Channel comes from Russia because it wants no Ukrainian competition for its dominance in the Black Sea.

    2. The protestors can be seen surrounded by cars, which brings to mind the possibility that Kyiv's cars do more harm to the world environment in one day than the Bystre Channel will do in one year — but the protestors do not voice their opposition to the large environmental impact of these cars which are right under their noses, they object to the small environmental impact of the far-away Bystre Channel.  This calls into question the origin of their mistaken committment — does it lie in poor judgment, weak comprehension, or ulterior motive?

    3. These protestors, presumably, do not offer to tie their fates to those of Danube Delta residents by going unemployed for a few years until the question of the optimal Ukrainian shipping route between the Danube River and the Black Sea can be solved to the satisfaction of Romania and Russia and Europe and the United Kingdom and the United States.  But these protestors do ask the residents of the Danube Delta region to do so — to go unemployed.  Apparently it is easier to ask others to renounce income so that birds and fish and insects can live than to renounce one's own income.  It is easy for a city dweller who is comparatively rich to ask a rural dweller who is comparatively poor to make sacrifices to protect the fish and the birds and the insects, even though the city dweller has found it convenient to kill off almost all the fish and birds and insects for miles around him.  A convincing demonstration of sincerity would be for the above protestors to exchange their economic situation with Danube Delta residents for, say, all of 2005 — the protestors going to live in the Danube Delta where they will find no employment, and an equal number of Danube Delta residents coming to Kyiv where they will occupy the protestors' places.  This, however, does not appear to be a sacrifice that these Kyiv protestors are interested in making.  They like their animal-free streets and their insect-free cars and their asphalt roads and their concrete sidewalks, but they also happen to enjoy the vision of wilderness, though without worrying whether the people in that wilderness might be in need of having their poverty alleviated.  It is good to have a lot of fish and birds and insects — but not anywhere near me, please — they would interfere with my ability to earn a living! — But by all means, put them near somebody far away — whose ability to earn a living I don't care about.

    Despite the volume and near-unanimity of the opposition to Ukraine's Bystre Channel project, such opposition will be demonstrated below to be contraindicated by the evidence.

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1.  The Danube Within Europe

    A great deal of clarification can be obtained by an examination of maps, which requires a grounding in the basic geography of the regions involved.

    The Danube River, to begin, starts in Germany, crosses Europe in an Easterly direction, and empties ultimately in the Black Sea, its final 120 km forming the boundary between Romania on its south bank and Ukraine on its north bank.  By basin area, length, and volume of flow, the Danube is second among European rivers only to the Volga.  Regarding Europe not as the land mass ending at the Ural Mountains on the East but as the populated and developed region that is conventionally thought of as Europe, the Danube clearly rates as the largest river according to any of these three measures.

    Rank   River Basin Area (103 km2) Length (km) Volume of Flow (m3/s) SEA
      1 VOLGA 1,360 3,531 8,000 CASPIAN
      2 DANUBE    817 2,850 6,430 BLACK
      3 DNIPRO    503 2,201 1,650 BLACK
      4 DON    423 1,870    870 AZOV
      5 NORTH. DVINA       357 1,302 3,530 WHITE
      6 PECORA    322 1,809 4,100 BARENTS
      7 URAL    231 2,428    250 CASPIAN
      8 RHINE    225 1,326 2,500 NORTH
      9 WISLA    194 1,068    970 BALTIC
    10 ELBE    144 1,122   NORTH
    11 ODRA    125    903   BALTIC
    12 LOIRE    115 1,020    935 ATLANTIC
    13 WEST. DVINA         88 1,020    680 BALTIC
    14 EBRO      86    928   MEDITERRANIAN
    15 TAJO      81    910   ATLANTIC
    16 DNISTER       BLACK
    The above map and tabular data are from Danube River Protection Convention at  www.rec.org/DanubePCU/maps/basins.html

    2.  The Danube River and Basin

    A further zooming in reveals the Danube River, for now stripped of its tributaries, coursing its way through Europe — flowing through, or alongside, ten countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro (Yugoslavia), Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and finally Ukraine), and accepting water from a further seven countries (of which Albania is off the map immediately below), thus making it by far the most international of all world rivers.  The proliferation of hydroelectric projects in the upper Danube will become relevant to the discussion in due course:

    The Danube's tributaries do become relevant when it is recognized that toxic spills into tributaries can, despite their distance from the Delta, contaminate it.  The map below begins to identify a few Danube tributaries, and more importantly defines the Danube Basin — the region from which water flows, directly or indirectly, into the Danube River, and thus ultimately through the Danube Delta and into the Black Sea.  The Romanian green area labelled "R" covers that part of Romania that drains into the Danube, whereas the white area labelled "r" covers that part of Romania that drains elsewhere (as it happens, directly into the Black Sea).  Similarly the green area labelled with the upper-case "U" covers that part of Ukraine that drains into the Danube, and the white area labelled with the lower-case "u" covers that part of Ukraine which drains elsewhere.

    Map Danube Basin.

    Even prior to examining data as to who is doing what to help or hurt the Danube, a map such as the one above suggests Ukraine's limited ability to affect the Danube, and which gives reason for greeting with suspicion accusations that Ukraine stands out as the Danube's leading despoiler.

    Ukraine contributes little of the Danube's water, and Romania contributes a lot.  Romania flushes approximately eight times as much water into the Danube as Ukraine does, as estimated using basin area as a measure of water contribution, which in the map would involve dividing the area of R by the area of U, and which calculated from data in the following table gives 228,500/29,600 = 7.7.

    Country Rank Area of Basin in Country
      km2    %
    Romania   1 228,500   28.92
    Ukraine 10   29,600     3.75
    TOTAL   790,100 100.00
    Excerpted from Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database (TFDD)

    The above data renders incongruous Ukraine's being singled out as the Danube River's greatest despoiler, as the "Rank" column indicates that there are nine other countries that dump more water into the Danube than Ukraine does, and that thus have more opportunity to contaminate it.  For Ukraine to merely equal Romania in its pollution of the Danube, Ukraine's donated waters would have to average eight times the concentration of pollutants as Romania's waters, and for Ukraine to receive all the blame and Romania none, Ukraine's concentration of pollutants would have to be remarkably higher than eight times Romania's — a degree of culpability which no one has yet laid at Ukraine's feet.  From an appreciation of differential opportunity alone, one might expect that Romania — which contributes 29% of the Danube's water, a proportion unequalled by any other country — might be occasionally blamed for some of the Danube Delta's troubles.  Where such blame is altogether absent, perhaps a measure of incredulity is appropriate.

    Little of Ukraine's water reaches the Danube, whereas almost all of Romania's water does.  At the same time, almost everything that happens to surface water in Romania concerns the Danube Delta because 98% of Romania lies within the Danube River Basin www.unece.org/~.  Thus, one may say that almost everything that adversely affects surface water anywhere in Romania also adversely affects the Danube.

    Conversely, almost nothing that happens to surface water in Ukraine affects the Danube Delta because only a small proportion of Ukraine lies within the Danube Basin, as is reflected by the fraction U/(U+u) being small.  Ukraine's Chornobyl nuclear accident, for example, though causing great environmental damage, including damage to surface water, is not blamed for any of the degradation of the Danube Delta that is evident or that is feared.

    The victim lives downstream.  The downstream of two countries will always have more cause for concern over the pollutants that its neighbor puts into a river because it receives those pollutants.  (Hungary is particularly vulnerable in this respect, as 24 rivers carry surface waters into Hungary from foreign lands, making its water quality depend largely on how its upstream neighbors conduct themselves.)  According to this criterion, Ukraine's behavior should be of least concern to the other 16 countries that share the Danube Basin because Ukraine is the very last of them to receive Danube water.  Conversely, Ukraine has greatest cause of concern over what the other countries put into the Danube, as Ukraine does feel the direct effect of all their actions.  As Ukraine shares the last 134 km of the Danube with Romania, Ukraine does have some opportunity to impact Romania on the opposite shore; however, Romania has the opportunity to impact Ukraine not only over that same 134 km final stretch, but more importantly over the 941 kilometers that the Danube flows either through or alongside Romania before it ever reaches Ukraine (as calculated from figures at www.unece.org/~).  Again it seems incongruous that the upstream countries whose effluents very much matter to Ukraine should gang up on Ukraine whose effluents cannot reach them.

    Although the subject of this paper — the Bystre Channel — is far too small to be visible in a map of the scale above, its approximate location is indicated by the yellow arrow.  The uppermost branch of the Danube, concave downward and drawn in blue, at which the yellow arrow points is not the Bystre Channel — it is the main arm of the Danube, the Kilia arm.  The Bystre Channel — which is not drawn — lies between the Kilia arm and the Black Sea in that tiny dip downward of Ukrainian territory at which the yellow arrow points.

    CLICK to enlarge
    CLICK to enlarge
    By way of further introduction to the Danube River and Basin is the following excellent German map, available in two sizes, which features the major cities along the Danube:

    CLICK to display map

    CLICK to display map

    Zooming in still more to the region of the Danube Basin occupied mainly by Romania and Ukraine reveals the richness and complexity of the Danube's many tributaries, as is done in two maps which trace toxic spills from Baia Mare and Baia Borsa in north-western Romania, and which spills found their way to the Danube River and ultimately the Danube Delta.  These are the first two maps in the instant report in which Ukraine's Bystre Channel becomes visible, though not labelled — find the label Black Sea, and nearby the Ukrainian town of Vilkovo.  Not far below the label Vilkovo, running from the International Boundary separating Romania from Ukraine on the left to the Black Sea on the right is a thin blue line, somewhat concave downward.  This is the Bystre Channel which is the subject of the instant paper.  These two maps, by the way, demonstrate the clarification that the high magnification of some pdf documents sometimes makes possible (try 400%, for example).

    3.  The Danube Delta

      A.   Essential landmarks

    The still-wild remains of the Danube Delta correspond approximately to the green areas, including their blue-black bodies of water, in the satellite photograph on the left below.  The labelling on the right identifies key features that enable further discussion.  The minimal mastery necessary to follow the train of thought would permit the recitation by heart of the following, pointing out in the left photograph each feature or phenomenon named:

    Estimates of the percentage of the Danube Delta that is owned by Ukraine vary, falling approximately within the range 14% to 22%.

    The idea of a dragon's beard comes from the Ukrainian Danube Delta having the appearance of a horse-like dragon, with the points at the Prorva and Ochakivske looking like ears, the small lake immediately below the ears looking like the dragon's right eye, with a small corresponding inlet on the Black Sea looking like its left eye.  The lake well below the Bystre may be a nostril.  The Starostambulske forms the dragon's mouth, such that the red area to the west of the Starostambulske (on the right bank, from the point of view of a person facing downstream) may be imagined to be the dragon's beard.

    Can dragons have beards?  It seems they can, and long, flowing tresses too, as proven at
    Appendix: Dragons Can Have Beards.

    Ukrainian ownership of the Dragon's Beard is of importance because it completes the requirement that any shipping between the Kilia Branch and the Black Sea must pass through some Ukrainian territory, and can avoid passing through any Romanian territory.  Amounting to a territorial claim against Ukraine, Romania has the effrontery to ask Ukraine to gratuitously cede ownership of the Dragon's Beard to Romania, on the assumption, it would seem, that the way to get a country to inflict on itself a significant economic and strategic loss is simply to ask it to, as expressed for example by Romanian irredentist dreamer Aurelian Teodorescu:

    The Romanian delegation proposed that the document should provide, among other things, that the borderline along the Chilia Channel will follow strictly the middle of the navigable waterway as far as the point of entry into the sea.

    Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu, "Serpents' Island Between Rule of Law and Rule of Force," 06-Oct-1999  www.tomrad.ro/iserpi/ENGLISH.HTM


    Although the green areas above indicate that portion of the Danube Delta that continues relatively undeveloped and lush, an indication of the larger area that could once have been called the Danube Delta can be seen in the "Peaty-gley soils in swampy areas" in Map:Soil Types, from which it can be inferred that the Ukrainian portion of the Danube Delta could be said to have recently existed in a wild state deep into what is now the north bank of the Danube, well west of Izmail, and in fact two thirds of the distance between Izmail and Reni, Reni being the last Ukrainian town before Moldova's 900-meter frontage on the Danube.

      B.   Which of the three main Danube branches is best suited for shipping?

    The three main branches of the Danube — which from north to south are Kilia, Sulina, and George — have the following nutrient-carrying characteristics:

    Nutrients in the Three Danube Branches
    Nitrogen Phosphorus
       Percent Input    Percent Retention    Percent Input    Percent Retention
    Kilia   67.0   01.6   66.8   01.1
    Sulina   13.0   53.8   13.1   17.3
    George        20.0   31.6   20.2   26.3
    Total 100.0   14.4 100.0   08.3
    The data above were calculated from the table "Nutrients in the Danube Delta" at  www.rec.org/DanubePCU/delta.html.  A column failing to sum to exactly 100.0 percent results from rounding error.

    The two yellow cells above indicate that the Kilia receives two-thirds of all Danube nitrogen and two-thirds of all Danube phosphorus, from which it might be inferred that the Kilia branch receives two-thirds of all Danube water.  The two yellow cells holding by far the highest (among the three Danube branches) numbers in their columns argues that the Kilia is the best suited for shipping because it is the biggest.

    Furthermore, as Nitrogen and Phosphorus are considered to be nutrients which feed the Danube Delta ecosystem, it can be seen that the Delta retains for its own use from the Kilia not only far less nutrient than from the Sulina or from the George, but also one may say a negligible amount of nutrient.  For example, the "01.6" within the left blue cell indicates that of all the nitrogen entering the Kilia branch, only 1.6 percent is retained by the Delta, the rest of the nitrogen being flushed into the Black Sea.  The two blue cells holding by far the smallest numbers in their columns, then, argues that the Kilia is the worst-suited for supplying nutrients to the Danube Delta.  Furthermore, whereas increasing nutrient retention requires that a channel meander, shipping requires that a channel be straight.  Straightening a channel so as to facilitate shipping increases the water's rate of flow, which lowers its ability to supply nutrients to the surrounding delta.  It is in the interests of the Danube Delta biosphere, therefore, that the George channel, already meandering, not be straightened, and that the Sulina Canal, which is the product of straightening, be encouraged to return to a meandering Sulina Channel.

    Branch  Max Width (m)   Max Depth (m) 
    Kilia 1000   39  
    Sulina   250   18  
    George      550  

    The Kilia may be best-suited for shipping, too, because it is also the widest and deepest, with Liscom Tour
    www.turismdelta.ro/~  crediting the three channels with the maxima shown opposite.  From the point of view of shipping, minima may be of greater interest than maxima, but the maxima happen to be the data available at the moment.

    Insisting that the Sulina retain its monopoly as the chief shipping route flies in the face of its being the narrowest and shallowest, of its carrying the smallest volume of water, and of its being one of the two Danube branches which are important for supplying nutrients to the delta ecosystem.

      C.   A first glance at the Bystre Channel

    The development of the Bystre channel is divided into two stages.

    On May 11, 2004, the Ukrainian government officially launched construction of the canal with German company Josef Mobius Bau AG as general contractor for construction.  Two stages are planned for the canal: the first will result in a canal of 3.3 kilometres in length, a bottom width of 85 metres, depth of 7.65 metres and parts of a dam with a length of 1.54 kilometres.  This first stage should ensure passage of ships with water draught of 5.85 metres.

    The second stage of construction will increase the depth of the canal up to 8.32 metres, the width by 100 metres and increase the length of the dam by 3 kilometres.  This stage should ensure passage of ships with water draught of 7.2 metres.  The project is scheduled to be completed towards autumn 2005.

    According to Kostiantyn Syzov, Deputy Director of Delta-Lotsman, which oversees safety and effectiveness of navigation for the canal, the approximate cost of the entire project is nearly UAH 210 million (EUR 32.3 million).  The total cost return is expected in nine years.

    Danube Watch www.icpdr.org/pls/danubis/docs/~.    It might be noted that the drafts which Bystre dredging will allow will never be sufficient to accomodate large ocean-going ships which may have drafts of 10 m (Queen Mary 2) or even 12 m (the original Queen Mary).

    The chief work of the first stage appears to have focussed less on the Bystre itself than on its estuary out in the Black Sea, with three goals: (1) dredge a channel through the shallow estuary to permit vessels to access the Bystre itself which already was considerably deeper than its estuary; (2) place channel walls so that silt would mainly deflect off to the sides, with the goal of slowing the rate at which the estuary channel itself silted over; (3) provide a platform where cargo can be transferred to river boats or to tug-towed barges.  The following map shows this estuary work; the pdf version might reveal additional detail upon magnification.

    The artificial channel in the Bystre Arm.  Image and similar caption originally on the Ukrainian Embassy in Austria web site at www.ukremb.at/aktuell/kanal04.htm.  PDF version available here.

    In contrast to the work being done on the estuary, the Bystre channel itself appeared to require little modification, at least in the vicinity of ecologically-sensitive zones, and at least within the first stage, the channel apparently already being sufficiently deep and its banks already sufficiently solid: "there's no need to conduct dredging and bank consolidation in the segment that crosses the reserved territory; navigation marks will be placed in water" www.ukremb.at/aktuell/kanal.htm.

    The following dates mark first-stage progress:

    11-May-2004 Ukrainian government officially launched construction of the first stage
    19-Aug-2004 Pilot passage of 120 m long and 5 m draft ship through the channel
    24-Aug-2004 First stage completed
    25-Aug-2004 Canal opened to first-stage traffic
    02-Sep-2004 First ship moves through the Bystre
    14-Sep-2004 Sixty-two vessels have passed through the Bystre: 38 ocean yachts and 24 merchant ships from Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Ukraine
    26-Oct-2004 Ministry of Transport and Communications announces the passage of the first hundred vessels
    09-Dec-2004 Two hundred merchant vessels have passed through the Bystre.  Number of all vessels would, of course, be higher.

    The Bystre is off to a promising start, and the Sulina can't compete — that's one reason that Romania is flustered, as the instant report will prove.

    Nevertheless, week by week a vessels traffic through the Ukrainian waterway is becoming more intensive proving its advantages and competitiveness over the similar Romanian Sulina canal.  With a minimum number of around 600 ships annually set by the business plan for the completed project 107 vessels took this route in the first two months to date, i.e. by 7% higher than planned for the future.

    Main advantages of the Ukrainian deep waterway are optimum traffic capacity and advanced navigation safety systems activated from the very first day of its operation by coast stations — DGPS (Differentiated Global Positioning System), AIS (Automatic Identification System) and automated radar stations.

    Traffic capacity of the Ukrainian deep waterway allows for the day-and-night, two way navigation practically along 90% of its route.  While the Sulina canal is a day light, one way route that restricts shipments and inflicts additional losses to ship owners due to inoperative demurrages.

    Ukrainian deep waterway goes operational, Press Release, Official Site of the Mission of Ukraine to European Communities, 26-Oct-2004  www.ukraine-eu.mfa.gov.ua/~

    In a free market, it is appropriate, and indeed necessary and indispensible, to attempt to put competitors out of business by offering better goods or services at a lower price.  According to this universal business code, Ukraine has every right — and even a positive obligation — to win all Danube shipping for itself if it can, in the spirit in which the following prognosis is made:

    The price for sailing through the Ukrainian canal is 30 percent as cheap as those for the Romanian canal Sulina.  After the completion of the second stage, the Ministry of transport expects 100% vessels to use the Ukrainian canal.

    Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds  www.utop.org.ua/eng/news23b.htm.  Reference to "30 percent as cheap" is ambiguous.  It could mean "30 percent lower," such that a fee of $100 would be reduced to $70; or it could mean "30 percent of the standard price," such that a fee of $100 would be reduced to $30.

    Despite predictions of Ukraine's taking 100% of the market, those concerned about the economic well-being of Romania can be consoled by the recognition that geography sets a ceiling on Ukraine's potential share of all Danube-Black Sea shipping.  The chief reason is that Black-Sea ships approaching from the south (and thus from Istanbul, and beyond that from the Mediterranean, and beyond that from the Atlantic) and heading higher upriver than the Lower Danube will find the Romanian canal at Constanta reduces their travelling distance considerably, as can be appreciated upon reading the explanation below, and then locating the places mentioned — Bosporus, Constanta, and Cernavoda — in the lower-right corner of GERMAN MAP OF DANUBE CITIES.

    For vessels proceeding from the Bosporus to ports upriver from Cernavoda, use of this [...] canal rather than the Sulina canal cuts their journey by 397 kilometres.

    United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Economic Commission for Europe, Inland Transportation Committee, Exchange of information on measures aimed at promoting transport by inland waterways, Submitted by the Government of the Russian Federation, 19-Jun-2003  www.unece.org/~

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1.  Romania Is The Danube River's Worst Polluter

    Romania's incessant complaints against Ukrainian insensitivity to the Danube ecosystem invites the impression that Romania potects the Danube ecosystem while Ukraine wrecks it.  The evidence, however, is unsupportive of this perception.

      A.   Big spills


    Major Environmental Demonstration in Washington

    (April 1 and 2, 2000)

    Four times during the past two months, Central Europe has suffered environmental disasters on the scale of the Chernobyl accident.  All originated in Romania.

    On January 30, 2000, a cyanide spill from a Romanian-Australian mining operation released massive amounts of cyanide and heavy metal byproducts from the Aurul gold mine in Romania into the Tisza, the second largest river of Hungary.  The Tisza carried the toxic material into the Danube, which is winding its way through Vojvodina in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria into the Black Sea.  The cyanide killed over 1,000 tons of fish and most of all other life forms in the Tisza and caused untold environmental and economic damage in the lower Danube basin.  The heavy metals poisoned the groundwater and are traveling up the food chain, threatening the lives of not only the remaining five pairs of giant osprey in the world famous Hortobágy nature reserve park, but also the drinking water supplies of two million people.

    Less than six weeks later, on March 10, 2000, heavy rain and melting snow burst a dam at the Baia Borsa lead and zinc mine in Northern Romania, 115 miles from the Hungarian border.  Some 20,000 tons of heavy metal sludge were released into a tributary of the Viso river, which then carried it, once again, into the Tisza.  The river, once called the "Blonde Tisza," has turned black.

    Four days later, on March 14, another heavy metal spill occurred at Baia Borsa.

    A fourth spill occurred just this week.

    This weekend's environmental demonstration in Washington, in front of the Romanian Embassy (1607 23rd Street on Sheridan Circle) from 11 AM to 2 PM is organized by the 'NGO Coalition To Save Our Rivers' and it has the following goals:

    It wants to focus attention on the need for developing an infrastructure of international regulations and safety enforcement mechanisms, which must accompany the globalized operation of the multi-national firms as they expand their operations around the planet. The demonstration will also focus on the responsibility of such existing institutions as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Court and the European Union. It will point out the need for these institutions to assist such post-Communists states as Romania to adopt acceptable environmental safety standards in their industrial operations and to provide funds for the restoration of the environment of the damaged downstream states, such as that of Hungary.

    The giant osprey with its 5 or 6 foot wingspread of the Hortobágy is not only the property of a nation it is the treasure of all mankind.  We must not wait until all of our rivers are dead, until all fish are murdered to realize that money is not edible. We must jointly protect life on this planet and the time to start developing the legal and financial infrastructure for doing that is right now.



    Photo and caption "The pollution has caused enormous damage to the rivers' wildlife" are from Romania 'needs billions' to fight pollution, BBC, 29-Mar-2000  news.bbc.co.uk/~.  Reference is to the 30-Jan-2000 spill at Baia Mare.

    Photo and caption "After the spill" are from Baia Mare: Five Years After the Cyanide Spill, WWF, 31-Jan-2005  www.panda.org/~

    Photo and caption "Almost all fish in the river Tisza have perished" are from Cyanide spill reaches Danube, BBC, 13-Feb-2000  news.bbc.co.uk/~

    Photo and caption "Thousands of fish were killed in the cyanide spill" are from Nick Thorpe, Environmentalists mull river clean-up, BBC, 23-Mar-2002  news.bbc.co.uk/~

    Breach in the Aurul tailings dam near Baia Mare three days after the catastrophic spill of 30-Jan-2000.  The corresponding thumbnail was originally at users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/~ and the above enlargement at users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/~
    Below is a Hungarian tracking of the cyanide from the 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare spill shows the cyanide diluting as it progresses through Hungary, but nevertheless almost fifteen times the Hungarian "sanitary level" even after it has passed through Hungary and is entering Serbia — to which should be added that the "sanitary level" set by more prosperous countries is lower than the Hungarian.

    A detailed tracing of the paths initially followed by the Baia Mare and Baia Borsa spills, and which includes an explanation of why a Baia Mare spill impacts Ukraine over only a short stretch of the Tisza, whereas a Baia Borsa spill impacts Ukraine over a long stretch of the Tisza, can be found at
    Mosaic Tisza River.

    A pair of pdf maps published by the Balkans Task Force continue to reveal detail even when greatly enlarged:

    @ Tracks the 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare spill, originally published at

    @ Tracks both the 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare spill and the 10-Mar-2000 Baia Borsa spill, originally published at

    Consulting Three BBC maps — one terrible, one bad, and one not great! at www.ukar.org/danubedelta/dd01-three-bbc-maps.html on the question of paths traced by Romanian toxic spills serves to demonstrate that BBC coverage may be at times confusing and misleading, or even perhaps motivated to conceal the harm inflicted by Romanian contamination on Ukrainian territory.

    Despite Baia Mare and the Danube Delta lying at opposite ends of Romania, and despite Baia Mare waters initially flowing toward the north-west whereas the Danube Delta lies toward the south-east, Baia Mare toxins are relevant here because the Danube Delta is their ultimate destination:

    Through several small rivers in Romania, the spill entered the Tisza river which flows through Hungary and into the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  The pollution then flowed into the river Danube upstream of Belgrade and finally entered the Black Sea.  The cyanide plume was measurable at the Danube delta, four weeks later and 2000 km from the spill source.

    Cyanide Spill at Baia Mare Romania, UNEP/OCHA Assessment Mission, March 2000, pp. 44-45  www.ausimm.com/societies/baiamare.pdf

    Below is a photograph taken at a 1-2 April 2000 demonstration in front of the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St, NW, Washington DC 20008.  Similar photographs containing at least one placard which points an accusing finger at Romania are available at Washington Demonstration.

    One or a couple of accidents, however devastating their effect, is just the beginning of the evidence against Romania.  A casual browsing of the Internet quickly turns up fourteen major Romanian spills over the course of approximately seven years, as is documented on the Big Romanian Toxic Spills page.

    Although descriptions of individual cases such as those above serve to outline the characteristics of the more extreme pollution accidents that happen to catch the attention of the press or other commentators, they provide a gross underestimate of the total number.  More specifically, whereas the above list of 14 accidents over 7 years works out to two accidents per year, in fact the annual rate may be closer to 855, which is what Appendix: Table Romanian Pollution Accidents 2000 shows that it was for the year 2000, of which approximately 90% pertain to pollution of soil (from which can be computed 770 soil-contamination accidents), 8% to pollution of water (therefore 68 water-contamination accidents), and 2% to pollution of air (17 air-contamination accidents).

    Of course the number of pollution accidents that contribute to a count depends on the definition of a "pollution accident" — the lower the criterion, the higher the count.  It is safe to assume, though, that the standard has not been set so high that Romania can be understood to experience 855 pollution accidents of the magnitude of 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare or 10-Mar-2000 Baia Borsa each year.  At the same time, it may be trusted that the standard has not been set so low that trivial pollution discharges are being counted so as to produce an inflated count, especially as the count is conducted by the Romanian government.

    Even 68 pollution-of-water accidents in a single year is startlingly more than the two per year that a perusal of press reports suggested; however, it must be recognized that soil contamination is readily carried by ground water into streams and rivers, such that soil contamination ultimately becomes water contamination as well, whose relevant implication is that some fraction of soil contaminants must ultimately end up in the Danube, and some fraction of these must end up in the Danube Delta.  The following six land spills, for example, are so extensive that their contaminants cannot be imagined to have restricted themselves to land, especially as they commonly managed to find irrigation canals to flow into:

    • 11-Feb-2000  •  SC Vie-Vin Murfatlar SA and Valu lui Traian  •  60 tons of Diesel oil leaked out and collected in an irrigation canal along 2 km of length

    • 04-Mar-2000  •  Vadu Paaralui, Prahova district  •  10 tons of crude oil leaked out into the irrigation-draining canal along 380 m of length

    • 15-Jun-2000  •  Hagiesti, Ialomita district  •  1000 tons of crude oil leaked out and amassed in the irrigation canal over a 400 m long, 6 m wide and 0.5 m deep area

    • 01-Jul-2000  •  Sindrilita, Ilfov district  •  7 ha of wheat cultivated area pertaining to the Afumati Agricultural Association were affected by oil products

    • 13-Nov-2000  •  Cornesti, Dambovita district  •  50 tons of crude oil spilled on a 2,500 sqm area

    • 14-Dec-2000  •  Dragalina, Calarasi district  •  35 tons of crude oil spilled over 2,400 sqm of tillable land

    Six contiguous cases from Table 9.2, "Some examples of pollution accidents occurring in 2000," Ministry of Waters and Environmental Protection, Romania  enrin.grida.no/htmls/romania/~  Bold emphasis added.

    Even pollution accidents affecting air can affect water.  Thus, if particulate matter is released, some of it may settle on water, or settle on land and be washed into water.  Or if gases are released, some of them may dissolve in nearby water, or may condense on land and be washed into water, or may condense in air and rain down on water.

    Thus, although it is impossible from the data at hand to arrive at a definitive estimate of annual pollution accidents in Romania that affect the Danube, it may be hypothesized that most of the 855 pollution accidents of the year 2000 did so to a greater or lesser degree, and that only a small proportion can be trusted to have had no effect whatever on the Danube.  Although the effect of any given pollution accident on the Danube may be too small to be detectable at the Delta above the background noise, it cannot be doubted that the accumulation of a large number of accidents combine to make a measurable contribution to Delta contamination.

    It is to be kept in mind that almost all of Romania lies within the Danube Basin, as can be verified in Map Danube Basin.  The only exception is the stretch of Romanian land along the Black Sea, starting a bit below the Danube Delta — within which stretch water prefers to flow not westward into the Danube, but eastward into the Black Sea.  Water contamination anywhere else in Romania ultimately flows into the Danube, and thus ultimately into the Danube Delta, though sometimes by a circuitous route and which sometimes leads through other countries.  That the toxins become more diluted the farther they travel does not mean that Danube water is clean by the time it reaches the Delta — given the many sources of contamination within Romania, it does mean that the Danube Delta in general, and the Ukrainian Danube Delta in particular, receive an unhealthy flow of Romanian toxins on a continuous basis.

    That the Danube will continue to experience big surges of Romanian toxins of the sort that have made headlines in recent years is suggested first by Romania's ownership of "environmental time bombs":

    Meanwhile, a German Environment Ministry official on a visit to Romania said local environmental organizations had told her there are some 55 "environmental time bombs" similar to the one that caused a recent heavy metal spill in the Tisza River, MTI reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 March 2000). VG


    The Romanian government itself lists 80 "main potential water polluters in Romania" in its Table 10.1 at enrin.grida.no/htmls/romania/~ .

    And the Danube must continue to expect surges of Romanian toxins also because Romania is in the throes of a "gold rush," which has attracted the participation of Australian, British, Canadian, European, and American gold-mining companies, as described by Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/~ .

      B.   Chronic leakage

    But in addition to the breaching of the walls of a holding pond or of a storage tank which releases a surge big enough to kill fish even in another country, there exists in Romania an ongoing chronic contamination which draws less notice, as for example from leaking pipes, as was already noted above when the May-1998 Brad spill was blamed on "old piping."  Such leaking pipes are identified as a source of chronic pollution:

    Numerous incidents since Summer 1999 have demonstrated that AURUL is not able to control the situation and obviously has a structural problem.  The pipe system leading from the factory to the tailings basin and back to the factory is unsafe, resulting in repeated spills.

    Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/aurul-romania.pdf

    The following account suggests not only that pipes leak, but also that the instances of spillage are so numerous that it is inevitable that the vast majority never come to public attention.

    Altogether 6-7 accidents have been reported, among them 4 pipe breaks, 1 at the pipe from the factory to the basin, and 3 at the pipe back from the basin to the factory carrying 'pure water' in May, September and December 99.

    The May spill is described by Esmeralda as follows: "In May a fissure of the decant return water pipeline occurred due to an hydraulic shock generated by the sudden closure of an automatic valve.  A minor amount of water was released, most of which was contained within lease boundaries, with a small runoff to a neighbouring field...  Keen interest was shown by Ecological societies & the public and some political groups used the forums to gain publicity with the media reports being hostile towards the process.  Despite this hostile environment the Permitting process has progressed satisfactorily with most permits required from Regulation Authorities ..."

    (Source: "Baia Mare Tailings Treatment Project", www.esmeralda.com.au/2_act/ main2a.html, undated, but after August 1999, page 3f)

    Skin rashes followed, e.g. a 9-year old girl from Zazar developed a rash after playing near the basin.  Doctors said that it 'comes from the air', related to the May 99 spill.  A man harvesting maize next to the basin fainted during the September incident.  5 cows died, 2 after being found blinded, on September 27/28-99, "after they drank cyanide contaminated water from a broken pipe", owners reported.

    When people in Zazar near Baia Mare who live next to leaking pipe systems demanded that the authorities should look into drinking water quality, the authorities sent AURUL scientists to analyse samples.  Afterwards, AURUL tried to charge families over US$ 250 for the costs of the analyses.

    Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/aurul-romania.pdf

    Iuliu Chiorean, director of Aurul — the company responsible for the 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare spill — acknowledges that leaking pipes are a complained-of source of contamination, and at the same time assures the public that it is a thing of the past.

    He says another source of local complaint — the old iron pipes which cross the landscape, taking the cyanide solution to the storage lakes — are also closely monitored now.

    Nick Thorpe, One year on: Romania's cyanide spill, BBC, 31-Jan-2001  news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1146979.stm

    Perhaps the following photograph shows the sort of old iron piping that is complained of and that Iuliu Chiorean claims is today being "closely monitored," and perhaps the color of the mountain stream that is shown is representative of other mountain streams in the Carpathian mountains of Romania, and whose contents will ultimately flow into the Danube and arrive at the Danube Delta along with the Romanian demand that Ukrainian reed beds be cultivated to filter out the toxins that Romania had not the virtue to hold back from its rivers and streams.

    The thumbnail with ALT caption "Broken waste pipe in the Cavnic valley" is at users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/evidence.htm The larger (1723x1181) original is at users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/images/r%20cavnic%20broken%20pipe.jpg.  Readers who are familiar with the appearance of mountain streams will know that the above does not appear to be a normal mountain stream.

      C.   Intentional discharge

    On top of massive spills and chronic leakage — all acknowledged to be unintentional — there is the intentional continuous discharge of partly-neutralized, but still highly toxic, cyanide solutions that have reached the end of their useful life:


    In the region of Baia Mare, gold mining has been a tradition for more than 2,500 years.  Non-ferrous metals mining is never a 'clean' process as all precious metals in the earth are accompanied by a series of other, toxic, heavy metals like lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, and arsenic.  During the 1960s, the Romanian state-owned company REMIN introduced the extremely toxic and hazardous 'cyanide leaching' process by which small concentrations of gold or other precious metals are leached out of the ore/soil matrix, using a cyanide solution.  At the end of its useful life, the solution is 20mg/l strong and is neutralised by sodium hypochloride down to 4 mg/l cyanide.  This product is released intentionally into the 'mill canal' that flows into the Lapus/Somes (Hungarian: Szamos)/Tisza system.

    Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/aurul-romania.pdf

    Leakage and intentional discharge are able to produce severe chronic contamination even though the absence of any massive spill makes that contamination unworthy of press attention, to appreciate which it is necessary to digress momentarily into the measurement of the acidity-alkalinity of a liquid, in which a pH of 7 indicates neutrality and a diminishing number indicates increasing acidity, with most natural waters measuring between 6.5 and 7.5.  The pH of some familiar liquids that range from neutral to strongly acidic is shown on the left below, and the ability of water bodies of different acidities to sustain life is shown on the right:

    LIQUID   pH
    Pure water   7.0
    Orange juice   4.3
    Vinegar   2.9
    Lemon juice   2.2
    Sulphuric acid 0.98

    United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  www.epa.gov/airmarkets/acidrain/effects/surfacewater.html

    The EPA statement below indicates that the strongest acidity likely to be measured in a natural body of water in the United States equals the acidity of orange juice.  Such bodies of water are probably devoid of life (even if frogs could endure that acidity for a time, they would die of starvation, as there would be little for them to eat):

    In areas like the Northeastern United States, where soil buffering capacity is poor, some lakes now have a pH value of less than 5.  One of the most acidic lakes reported is Little Echo Pond in Franklin, New York.  Little Echo Pond has a pH of 4.2.

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) www.epa.gov/airmarkets/acidrain/effects/surfacewater.html

    But to return to instances of severe contamination in Romania unconnected with any noteworthy toxic spill or any press coverage, there comes to mind the example of the Turt River (lying entirely within Romania between the Tisza to its north and the Somes to its south, and feeding into the Tur within Romania, which in turn feeds into the Tisza within Hungary just before the Somes does):

    In 2000, the highest water pollution was registered in the Tisa basin, on a 36 kilometre long sector (River Cisla 10 km, River Turt 16 km), Basin Somes on a 26 kilometre long sector (River Lapus 7 km, River Sasar 19 km) and Basin Mures on a 21 kilometre long sector (River Abrudel 21 Km).

    www.rec.hu/frame2/RO_socio.html  Bold emphasis added.

    The ALT caption which accommpanies the following photograph of the Turt reports it measuring a pH of 1.2 — more acidic than vinegar and lemon juice, but falling short of sulphuric acid.

    River Turt in Satu Mare County, the pH is 1.2!  Photo and caption of thumbnail at  users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/~ with full size (1756x1173) original at users.aber.ac.uk/gbb97/~

    In the intervals between its massive and newsworthy spills, then, Romania is not idle — it sends its toxins to the Black Sea quietly but continuously, without attracting coverage by the BBC and without being noticed in a Leo Platvoet junket tour.

    Vicinity of Rosia Montana and Rosia Poieni from where these contaminants travel successively through the Aries, Mures, Tisza, Danube, Danube Delta, and into the Black Sea.  Originally at  cseke.atw.hu/kaland/kaland81-verespatak.htm

    Romania is cluttered with unnoticed dead rivers that have not experienced any recent massive spill, and every last one of them feeds into the Danube, and Ukraine is responsible for no comparable contribution to the toxic load of either the Danube or of the Danube Delta.

      D.   Comparative statistics

    Of course, Romania's burdening of the Danube comes to public attention primarily in the graphic detailing of noteworthy instances.  However, a drier compilation of statistics leads to the same negative evaluation of Romanian commitment to protecting the Danube ecosystem.  For example, the following United Nations summary of industrial plants with high outputs of either nutrients (harmful because they lead to eutrophication), or of other pollutants, awards Romania an unchallenged first place.

    The specifics of the transboundary nutrient inputs in the Danube River Basin and Black Sea originating from industrial plants are known in some instances.  In relation to plants contributing to nutrient loadings of 50 t/yr or more,

    • Bulgaria has 8 plants,
    • Croatia has 3 plants and 4 plants with other pollutant loadings affecting a neighbouring country;
    • Hungary has 4 plants and 3 plants with other pollutant loadings affecting a neighbouring country;
    • Romania has more than 35 plants and 12 plants with other pollutant loadings affecting a neighbouring country and
    • Slovakia has 2 plants and 10 plants with other pollutant loadings affecting a neighbouring country.

    The major polluting industrial sectors in terms of enterprises are food, paper, chemicals and iron.  Together these four sub-sectors account for more than 75 per cent of the significant industrial pollutant discharges.

    Jacqueline McGlade, Transboundary Pollution and Environment Management in Europe and CIS Region, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna 2000  www.unido.org/userfiles/PuffK/mcglade.pdf.  Bullet formatting added to facilitate comparison.

    Similarly, the following United Nations table credits Romania with ownership of 44 of the outstanding sources of pollution within the Danube River Basin known as "hot spots," while at the same time crediting Ukraine with a meager four.

     Major Manufacturing Discharges identified by the GEF Danube River Basin Pollution Reduction Programme, 1998 
    Type Bosnia
     Bulgaria   Croatia  Czech
    Hungary Romania  Slovakia  Slovenia Ukraine Yugoslavia     Total    
    Food    5 14     2  5    5     31 
    Textiles            2  1        3
    Leather  1  2    1  1    1        6
    Wood processes          1    1    2  1  5
    Furniture            1          1
    Paper  1    1    3  3  2  5  2  1 18 
    Industrial chemicals and fertilizers      2  2  1  3 23   6      2 39 
    Other chemicals    2  2      3          7
    Petrol          1  1          2
    Iron  1  1      2  5          9
    Non-ferrous    1  1      1          3
    Metals    2                  2
    Other industrial  1  1    1      1        4
    Total  4 16  20   3 13  44  12  10   4  4  130   
    Source: UNIDO.    Jacqueline McGlade, Transboundary Pollution and Environment Management in Europe and CIS Region, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna 2000  www.unido.org/userfiles/PuffK/mcglade.pdf    Yellow highlighting added.

    A statistical comparison may be expressed graphically, as in Display xx, which despite its low quality offers further support of Romania's guilt and Ukraine's innocence concerning the degradation of the Danube Delta biosphere.

    Display xx.  Quality of surface water, with Category I (blue) being best and Category D (black) being worst.  From "Some examples of pollution accidents occurring in 2000," Ministry of Waters and Environmental Protection, Romania  enrin.grida.no/htmls/romania/~.  Labels along the lower-right added.

    It will be noted at the label "Arges" that the Danube arrives from the west a wholesome Category-I blue, and departs toward the east degraded to Category-II yellow, obviously the result of receiving Bucharest discharge which starts by turning the Dimbovita into a Category-D black as it flows southward through Bucharest, but which when it flows into the much larger Arges is unsuccessful in degrading it below its Category-II yellow, which it remains until it flows into the Danube.

    As the Danube continues toward the Black Sea, Romania burdens it with two other dirty tributaries arriving from the west — the Category-D black Lalomita and the Category-III red Calmatui.

    Romania subsequently maintains the Danube's contamination by never feeding it any Category-I blue tributary, but only more Category-II yellow waters, as for example those that originate in Romania's north-east corner from several Category-D black rivers, whose waters mercifully dilute to Category-II yellow on their journey to join the Danube.

    The point where the Danube has finished flowing northward and begins to head east is where it also begins to touch Ukraine along its north shore, and at which point Ukraine lacks the means to cleanse it of its Romanian pollutants, the river being so huge, Ukraine having control of only its northern shore, and Ukraine's stetch of the Danube being so short.  Nevertheless, once the Danube has flowed through the Kilia arm and has broken into channels having Ukraine on both banks, all of its waters upgrade to Category-I blue, as Romanian data explicitly shows for the Prorva, Ochakivske, Bystre, and Starostambulske.  Thus, despite the contamination which Romania seizes every opportunity to throw into what it considers its national sewer, Ukraine manages to keep its Delta waters in a comparatively-pristine state of cleanliness.

    The Romanian Sulina canal, in contrast, cutting through the very middle of the Danube Delta, is only a Category-II yellow, which is not surprising as it lies immediately downstream of the Romanian city of Tulcea, which dumps its sewage into the Tulcea branch untreated, such that it should not be surprising to learn of an outbreak of 66 cases of cholera in the Tulcea region in 1990 www.redtailcanyon.com/~.  In fact, all three of the major Romanian cities just upstream of the Danube Delta — GERMAN MAP OF DANUBE CITIES shows these to be Braila, Galati, and Tulcea — release their sewage into the Danube untreated, as is reported by Green Cross Italia and by UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, p. 95, and which reports on p. 102 the same even for the Romanian capital further upstream: "The capital city, Bucharest, still has no waste-water treatment plant."  Perhaps environmental activists will someday think to compare the damage inflicted on the Danube Delta from (a) the untreated sewage flowing from just one of these Romanian cities, and (b) the Bystre project.

    The main Category-I blue waterway that Romania can boast of within the Delta is the wonderfully-meandering George, which however Romania is in the process of excavating into yet another straight-line shipping canal which is unlikely to be able to retain its Category-I blue rating, as the swiftness of the canal current, and its separation from biosphere cleansing mechanisms, will leave the water contaminated with its Braila-Galati-Tulcea sewage.

    The presence of several Category-III red areas within the Romanian Danube Delta, the largest being the shameful Lacul Sinoie, testifies further to Romania's failure to live up to its stewardship of its portion of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.  The contamination of Lacul Razim, Lacul Golovita, and Lacul Zmeica to level black is even worse.  Building the Gura Portitei tourist resort at the point where category black waters meet category red waters attests to Romanian leadership's failure to comprehend the European concept of hygiene.

    CLICK to display map

    Finally, for the time being, one may note that a comparison of the prevailing heavy-metal contamination in five Romanian rivers, three Hungarian, and one Ukrainian revealed that the Ukrainian was by far the cleanest, and the Romanian were by far the dirtiest, as documented at  MAP: SURFACE WATER.

    2.  Romania Has Been Guilty Of Wholesale Exploitation Of Danube Delta Wilderness

      A.   Areas A and B have been converted to agricultural use

    SATELLITE: ENTIRE DELTA WITH KILIA-TRIANGLE SUPPLEMENTS below reveals in two separate satellite photographs that within the wedge — entirely Romanian — that is sandwiched between the Kilia on the north and the George on the south, two regions stand out as different — Romanian Area A south of the Ukrainian town of Izmail, and Romanian Area B south of the Ukrainian town of Kilia.  Area B is referred to as the "Kilia Triangle" because it approximates a right-angled triangle: a straight line dropped from Kilia arrives at the right angle at the bottom of the triangle, from where the base of the triangle heads west.  What distinguishes Areas A and B from the wild delta is that they are unmistakably areas in which wetland has been drained and cultivation has been substituted, as indicated by the patchwork of differently-colored rectangular swatches indicative perhaps of different crops, or at least of different uses to which the swatches are being put.


    SATELLITE: ENTIRE DELTA WITH KILIA-TRIANGLE SUPPLEMENTS  Left-hand satellite photograph is a detail, labels added, from the European Space Agency (ESA) photograph available at SATELLITE: ROMANIA AND ENTIRE DELTA and as well at the place of original publication, the ESA web site at www.esa.int/~.  Original publication dated 03-Dec-2004, Credits: ESA 2003.

    The middle photograph, a detail from the left-hand photograph, labels Romanian-cultivated area A below the Ukrainian town of Izmail, and Romanian-cultivated area B (the "Kilia Triangle") below the Ukrainian town of Kilia.

    The right-hand photograph identifies the same two Romanian-cultivated areas in a detail from SATELLITE: ENTIRE DELTA WITH KEY LANDMARKS SUPPLEMENT which might profitably be consulted for an appreciation of the uniqueness of the motley A and B in a region of lush green dotted with bodies of water.

    Evident from an examination of all photographs, and particularly clear in the right-hand photograph, is that the rectangular and differently-colored patches within areas A and B indicate human cultivation of tracts of land perhaps growing different crops, or at least put to different uses, to accomplish which the areas had to first be drained of the bodies of water that pervade the delta.

    Other maps echo the conclusion that Areas A and B have been allocated for human use and are not to be considered part of Romania's Danube Delta:

    CLICK to display map CLICK to display map
    MAP: LISCOM TOUR SULINA and MAP: LISCOM TOUR GEORGE MEANDERS, and all Liscom Tour maps, draw Areas A and B waterless, and chart no floating hotel ever venturing into one of them.

    CLICK to display map
    MAP: ROMANIAN DANUBE DELTA paints Area B white like other developed areas, rather than asssigning it a color to identify its category of wetland.  However, this map appears to represent a beginning stage in the transformation into agricultural land, as Area B still contains channels and bodies of water, and Area A is still given wilderness-category colors, indicating that A was converted to agriculture before B.

    CLICK to display map
    MAP: ZONE STRICT PROTEJATE tints Areas A and B as Economic Zones.

      B.   And yet many recent maps show Areas A and B as undeveloped wetland

    CLICK to display map CLICK to display map
    SATELLITE: ENTIRE DELTA WITH KEY LANDMARKS SUPPLEMENT reveals that areas A and B are not unique to the region, as they resemble developed Ukrainian areas north of the Kilia, and resemble developed Romanian areas peripheral to the still-wild delta.  What does make them unique is the recency of their creation.  Thus, the 1984 Soviet maps show Areas A and B occupied not by dry rectangular fields, but by lakes and channels:

    Topography of Area A in 1984, taken from the lower-left of tile "95 Ukrainian town of KILIA" at  MOSAIC: WHOLE DANUBE DELTA SOVIET

    Topography of Area B (the "Kilia Triangle") in 1984, taken from the upper-right of tile "106 Romanian town of TULCEA" at  MOSAIC: WHOLE DANUBE DELTA SOVIET

    CLICK to display map
    MOSAIC: WHOLE DANUBE DELTA ROMANIAN reveals Areas A and B in similarly undeveloped states.  Upon arriving at the mosaic, click the tile on the upper-left for a high-resolution view of Area A, and having returned to the mosaic, click the tile next to it for a high-resolution view of Area B, the Kilia Triangle — easy to find hanging from the Romanian-spelled town of "Kilija."  Here, and in the following map, it can be seen that the right-triangular shape of Area B possibly originated from its having earlier been enclosed in a right-triangular border of sand.

    CLICK to display map
    MAP: ROMANIAN DELTA ROADS shows Areas A and B undifferentiated in their degree of pristine wetness from the rest of the Danube Delta.

    CLICK to display map
    MAP: RUNNING-MAN COMPASS also testifies to the way things recently were.

      C.   What happened?

    The Romanian Danube Delta Institute acknowledges a "reduction in wetland area":

    The most significant activities in recent decades have been the creation of a canal network in the delta to improve access and the circulation of water through the delta, and the reduction of the wetland area by the construction of agricultural polders and fishponds.  As a result, biodiversity has been reduced and the fundamentally important natural water and sediment transport system has been altered, diminishing the ability of the delta to retain nutrients.  The new regime allows much of the nutrient-containing silt to pass directly through the main canals rather than being distributed into the wetlands and reed beds.

    Danube Delta Institute at www.rec.org/DanubePCU/delta.html

    This reduction in wetland area stretches far back into the past, and has had devastating effect:

    A WWF study showed that over 80% of the Danube's wetlands and floodplains have been destroyed since the beginning of the twentieth century.

    WWF www.panda.org/about_wwf/~

    "Intensive exploitation" has been an integral component of Romanian attitude toward the Danube Delta:

    In 1960, the communist authorities in Bucharest drew up and implemented a plan for the intensive economic exploitation of the lower Danube and of the Delta's ecosystems.  The plan provided for the construction of dams, canals and fish-farming facilities, which resulted in the alteration of the Delta's hydrological balance and water circulation, all that affecting the Delta's ecosystems.

    The 1983 planned implementation of a programme bringing new, complex arrangements to the Delta, also drawn up by the communist authorities, was meant to ensure an intensive exploitation of the region's natural resources.

    It implied the construction of several dams and the draining of large areas of land.

    Radio Romania International  www.rri.ro/index.php?lmb=4&art=604  Bold was in the original.

    CLICK to display map

    CLICK to display map
    What may have happened, then, is that the Romanian exploitation plan drawn up in 1983 was responsible in the years that followed for the conversion of Areas A and B from Danube Delta Biosphere to monoculture farmland.  Comparison of the magnitude of Area A plus Area B to the area of the entire Ukrainian Danube Delta leaves the impression that what might better be called Farmland A plus B is bigger, a comparison best made by examining SATELLITE: ENTIRE DELTA WITH KEY LANDMARKS SUPPLEMENT linked in the icons opposite.  The conclusion which seems to follow is that a country — Romania — which in recent years has removed from the Danube Delta Biosphere an area greater than the entire Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere, today incites the world against Ukraine for what it considers the very great sin of dredging an existing waterway.

    The Romanian complaint calls two thoughts to mind.  First, it seems incongruous and implausible that Romanian leadership has today become hypersensitive to the most trivial encroachments on the very Danube Delta that it just yesterday was committed to not only exploiting, but wiping from the face of the earth.  Second, the Communists who are so readily blamed for yesterday's evils often continue in power today under the banner of Democrats, but sometimes with small change in their goals and their modus operandi.

      D.   Romania's Caraorman Industrialization Project

    By way of further confirmation of the conclusions arrived at above are photographs from the very heart of the Romanian Danube Delta of the remains of an attempt at its industrialization: 

    Twin cranes, now said to be dismantled, at Caraorman, in the heart of the Romanian Danube Delta.  From www.dunarea.net/articol.php?id=105

    Although it is possible to view today's dismantling of some of this infrastructure as demonstrating that the current Romanian administration has repented of its environmental exploitation and decided to return some of the delta to its natural state, the incongruous statement that "a group of 6 blocks of flats has been built, but they were never habitated, and are now waiting for a potential investor" (APPENDIX: CARAORMAN BUILDING SITE) points to a different interpretation — that abandonment is the fate of only the Caraorman sand-exploitation project, and for the reason that it proved uneconomical.  The six blocks of flats, in contrast, are not being dismantled — they are being saved for the future workers of some alternative squeeze-dollars-out-of-the-delta project that it is hoped will soon locate at Caraorman.

    Never-occupied six blocks of flats at Caraorman, in the heart of the Romanian Danube Delta — undismantled and awaiting occupation by the army of workers hoped to soon continue Romania's taming of the Romanian Danube Delta.  Photograph from  APPENDIX: CARAORMAN BUILDING SITE.

    Thus, even while Romania objects to the dredging of Ukraine's Bystre Channel, it casts about to replace its failed Caraorman-industrialization project with some more profitable one.  And neither is Romanian-Delta infrastructure on the lookout for occupants unique to Caraorman.  In fact, similar unwisely-built infrastructures are not being demolished in favor of a natural delta, but are being preserved in anticipation of being put to use as Romania's development of the Danube Delta progresses:

    Some constructions are inappropriate to the region such as the blocks of flats and large commercial complex at Sfintu Gheorghe which remain empty (Pons and Pons-Ghitulescu, 1990).

    Global Coordinate  www.redtailcanyon.com/items/13518.aspx

    What seems to be missing from the thinking of environmentalists who join Romania in objecting to the Bystre is a comparison of the environmental impact of (a) Romania's installing enough economic activity at Caraorman or Sfintu Gheorghe to fill their presently-empty blocks of flats, and (b) Ukraine's dredging an existing channel.

    Perhaps the next time Leo Platvoet goes on a Romanian-hosted fact-finding tour of the Danube Delta, he will ask to inspect the site of the Romanian twin-tower cranes at Caraorman, and the abandoned sand-processing plant, and the never-occupied blocks of flats scattered over the landscape, at which time he will be able to estimate how well the Danube Delta Biosphere thrives in their vicinity, and how well that Biosphere is likely to thrive when the Romanian administration fills those blocks of flats with workers.

    More information concerning the Caraorman Industrialization Project, as for example its proximity to Danube Delta Strictly Protected Zone #6, is presented below in the course of discussing the construction of the Crisan and Caraorman Canals, which discussion is supplemented by MAP: CARAORMAN.

    3.  Romania Is Straightening The George Channel

    CLICK to display all six meanders that inconvenience Romanian shipping
    CLICK to view map

    CLICK to view map

    CLICK to view map

    CLICK to view map

    CLICK to view map

    To cut a second straight shipping canal through the Danube Delta, the Romanian government would find it expedient to utilize existing portions of the existing George Channel, and to start by cutting six trenches bypassing six of its meanders, the biggest of which meanders is shown in the map on the left.  Clicking this map will display a larger map showing all six meanders.  In this map, none of the meanders is shown bypassed by a shortcut canal.

    The thumbnail on the upper-right, from a road map of Romania copyrighted 2003 and purchased February 2005, shows the same biggest George meander not bypassed by any shortcut canal, and clicking this thumbnail reveals that none of the other five meanders has been bypassed either.  Many maps can be found concurring, as for example the ones linked by the thumbnails on the right underneath the roadmap thumbnail.

    CLICK to view complete map

    A Ukrainian pdf-format map, however, does show the six meanders bypassed, and reinforces the notion that Romania intends to transform the George into a straight shipping canal.  This intention is indicated in the map by a fairly straight line composed of red dots superimposed over the George so as to bypass the six meanders in question, by the map calling the George a "canal," and by the map categorizing the George as "buduietsia" which means "under construction," which in this map's opinion gives the George a head start over the Bystre in the race to add another shipping channel to the Danube Delta, as the Bystre is categorized as only "proektuietsia" meaning "projected" or "planned."

    Similarly, a UNESCO pdf document consisting of a collection of papers in both English and French, dated April and May 1991, and March 1994, contains a map of the Danube Delta showing a strong dashed line through the meandering portion of the George Channel, presumably delineating a shipping canal which would bypass the six meanders in question:

    The complete map can be viewed at www.ukar.org/danube/map-romanian-donaudelta.html.  The original UNESCO document is at World Heritage Nomination — IUCN Summary, 588: Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Romania)  whc1.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/588.pdf

    Concerning the straightening of the George Channel — Sfintu Gheorghe (St George) in Romanian — the above UNESCO document stated the following, the first paragraph below appearing also in its French section, which French paragraph has been inserted below in navy font color:

    Recent civil engineering works, including the straightening of sections of the southern branch of the Danube (Sfintu Gheorghe), have had a strong negative effect on the ecological functions of the delta, and, by reducing flooding and sedimentation, have led to serious eutrophication that in turn affects fish stocks and waterbird populations.  [...]

    Des travaux de génie civil récents, ayant notamment impliqué la rectification de portions de la branche méridionale du Danube (Sfintu Gheorghe), ont eu un effet extrêmement négatif sur les fonctions écologiques des zones humides.  En réduisant les crues et la sédimentation, ils ont entraîné une eutrophisation grave gui, à son tour, affecte les poissons et les oiseaux d'eau.

    Publication of Romania No. 22 on 7 February 1990, halted the major development projects in the delta.  However, the Decree allowed 'strictly necessary works' to be completed or continued.  These are listed as: maintenance of flood defence; completion of the regulation of the Sf Gheorghe branch: completion of the works to protect the coastline in the zone of Sinoe; completion of the works to protect the coastline in the zone of Portita-Sf Georghe-Sulina; navigation and bank protection of the Sulina branch; and maintenance of existing reclamations at Pardina, Sireasa, Fortuna, Rusco, Grindul Island, Chilia and Sulina.  The completion of reclamation work at Pardina and Sireasca were allowed under Decree 103 on the understanding that no chemicals were to be applied (Carauscu, 1990).  Previous work along the Sf Gheorghe (a relatively untouched river landscape) led to the bypassing of river meanders and the reduction in use of lateral channels, as well as the increase in pollution load deposition (Anon., 1990; Pons and Pons-Ghitulescu, 1990).  The maintenance of agricultural activities in the polder areas is likely to result in soil degradation.  It has been reported that many of these 'necessary works' have also subsequently been halted (Hopkins, 1990a).  [...]

    Other projects included the re-routing of the River Sfintu-Gheorghe by cutting a straight canal through the numerous meanders, which would speed up the flow of water and radically alter the pattern of alluvial deposition (Grimmett and Jones, 1989) [...].

    World Heritage Nomination — IUCN Summary, 588: Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Romania)  whc1.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/588.pdf

    A statement indicating that the straightening of the George has been in progress can be found in 1993:

    The nutrient retention capacity of the straightened Danube arms Chilia and Sulina is less than the meandering St. Gheorghe arm.  But, construction works are straightening out the St. Gheorge arm, as well.

    Danube Delta Institute, 1993, at www.rec.org/DanubePCU/delta.html.

    Some consider the deed done:

    Sfantul Gheorghe is the oldest branch and transported 24% of water and alluviums.  The deepest point is 26 m.  This branch had also been modified by cutting of 6 meanders.

    Delta Duarii  www.caraorman.ro/~

    During the last few years, some of the biggest meanders of Sfintul Gheorghe Arm were sectioned in order to reduce the navigable course and to increase the water speed.

    Scoala NR 49  www.scoala49.rdsnet.ro/description.htm

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    That Romania is indeed in the process of straightening the George Channel, and might even have already finished the job, is suggested further by such maps as the ones whose clickable thumbnails appear on the left.  The repeated publication of such maps suggests either that the straightening of the George is a fait accompli and that maps showing it still meandering are antiquated, or else that Romania is publishing futuristic maps of a straightened George so that the idea will seem less shocking when the completed straightening is revealed, and when the recognition of having been duped by Romanian authorities registers on conservationist minds.  The thumb on the right links to a map showing shortcuts for only meanders 2, 3, and 5, and with one unprecedented George-meander shortcut not shown on any other map.

    A further set of maps published by Liscom Tour, a Romanian company offering floating-hotel expeditions through the Romanian Danube Delta, shows maps of 12 different routes to choose from, as for example the one shown in the first map below which travels the length of the entire Sulina canal, and which serves to demonstrate that a Liscom tour may include not only natural channels, but also straight canals carrying a great deal of shipping.  Evidence of straightening of the George in these Liscom Tour maps is weak — meanders 1, 5 and 6 are shown without shortcut trenches, 4 might have something close to an irregular and natural body of water just below where a shortcut might be excavated, but not the shortcut itself, and only meanders 2 and 3 being filled with dark color above where their shortcuts should be might be suspected of having been straightened, but are far from demonstrating unequivocal straightening.

    MAP: LISCOM TOUR SULINA.  Liscom Tour, Packages and routes on the Sulina, "Six days route on the Sulina channel" www.turismdelta.ro/routes.htm

    As many of the Liscom floating-hotel routes move along channels too small to appear in Liscom maps (and perhaps too small to appear even in non-Liscom high-resolution maps that are available in the
    MAP LIBRARY), it may similarly be possible for the floating hotels to travel along George-meander shortcuts even though these have not been drawn on Liscom maps.  Discovering that Liscom routes utilize any of the six undrawn George-meander shortcuts would be evidence of the shortcuts' existence.  Five of the Liscom routes (the second to the sixth) do venture into the region of the George meanders, and their cumulative tracing in yellow produces the following map which reveals that no Liscom route ever follows a George-meander shortcut:

    MAP: LISCOM TOUR GEORGE MEANDERS.  Tracing in yellow of five Liscom Tour routes that touch on the six George meanders.  The more similar two yellow traces are, the more likely it is that they represent casually-drawn versions of the same route.  The yellow traces can be seen to never follow the course of any of the six hypothesized George-meander shortcuts.  Liscom Tour maps originally at  www.turismdelta.ro/routes.htm

    The Liscom Tour routes never following any of the George-meander shortcuts calls to mind three alternative explanations:

    1. The hypothesized George-meander shortcuts do not exist.  Their construction had begun but was abandoned.  Perhaps the many available maps showing existing meander shortcuts were responsive to a government directive to draw them for the purpose of clouding the question of their age in case of objection when they were finally completed and put into service.

    2. The George-meander shortcuts do exist, but ecotourism businesses keep them from public view, which involves withholding them from maps, all to avoid public recognition that Romania is transforming the natural Danube Delta into a system of straight canals, and that Romania is more guilty than Ukraine of the environmental disruption that it blames Ukraine for.  As part of this stance, Liscom Tour may avoid travelling over George-meander shortcuts because they too plainly look like canals to be shown to ecotourists, and perhaps because some of them must be hidden from view because they are still under construction.

    3. The George-meander shortcuts do exist and are travelled by Liscom floating hotels, but are not acknowledged in maps so as to avoid being brought to the notice of ecotourists.  The holiday-goers on the boats don't notice that they are not following exactly the route drawn, and if they do notice, they are simply told that the drawn route is only a rough approximation of the actual route followed.

    In conclusion, were it the case that Romania had begun excavations to turn the meandering George natural channel into the straight George shipping canal, then this would be a major setback for Danube Delta conservation, as the George today is unique — it cuts through the very heart of the less-developed part of the Danube Delta, it is the cleanest of the major Romanian Delta waterways, and its meandering together with its occasional narrowing slows the passage of water through the Delta which increases the delta's nutrient absorption, whose benefit is not only to provide nutrients for the growth of delta flora, but is also to slow eutrophication of the Black Sea.  Conversely, among the negative consequences of George straightening would be to further lower water levels in the Kilia, as Romania has been doing for years, and to increase pollution of the comparatively pristine George.

    In addition to a rectilinear George harming the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, it would be staggeringly incongruous — here Romania is inciting the world against Ukraine because of Ukraine's dredging a few meters of silt off the bottom of an existing short channel (a change that would be undetectable in a satellite photograph of the quality that has been examined above), while Romania itself is performing changes on its own Delta so massive that they might be visible to the naked eye of an orbiting astronaut.  Romania destroying the George for the purpose of installing a third shipping canal capable of accomodating seagoing vessels through the Danube Delta (Romania's Sulina and Ukraine's Bystre already exist) would finally throw off the mask of ecosystem conservation that Romania has found it profitable to wear in recent years.

    The best bet from the information at hand is that Romania is at work preparing a George canal route between the Danube and the Black Sea, with the difference that the Romanian route will be its fourth (after the Sulina and the two at Constanta), and requires substantial encroachment on the Danube Delta, whereas the Ukrainian route is its first (discounting Ust-Dunaisk East because it is too shallow to accomodate seagoing vessels), and the difference that the Romanian route encroaches much on the Delta and the Ukrainian route little, and with the further and most astonishing difference that European, and world, reaction is one of blindness to the Romanian project, and is one of heaping abuse on the Ukrainian project.  Somehow, opponents of the Bystre Canal seem incapable of making the comparisons that their victims are drawn to make:

    [T]he attitude of the opponents of the [Bystre] channel is not clear when the next accident in the gold fields of Romania occurs and cyanides get to Danube, in particular into the territory of biosphere reserve.  Moldavia is building the oil terminal on the bank of Danube — silence once again.  Ukraine is silent.  Why nobody is disturbed that Romania is going to build a fifth man-made channel [the George Canal is fifth for both Romania and Ukraine if one excludes the "projected" Bystre].  It is necessary to carry out the works [on the Bystre], which allows redistributing the water flow in our favor that will better the ecological situation.  Cossacks worked on a voluntary basis in realization of the first stage [of the Bystre] and will be later to continue cooperation with State Enterprise Delta Pilot [on the second stage].

    V. L. Yankovskiy, Colonel-general of the Zaporozhye Cossacks, adviser of the Supreme ataman on the problems of ecology, in Ukrainian Embassy in Austria www.ukremb.at/aktuell/docs/min2004e.pdf.

    Originally from  gallery.phant.ch/bib2004_marco/agm

    This 2004 Romanian map of the Danube Delta, informal though it is, serves to reinforce two conclusions.  First, the Romanian tourist industry does not want tourists to learn that there is any Danube Delta outside of Romania.  Second, Romania wishes to avoid reminding tourists of its sorry record in protecting the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, and for that reason omits from maps the shortcuts that it dug to create the rectilinear George Canal.

    4.  Romania Builds A Tourist Resort Within A UNESCO Strictly Protected Zone

    The location of the Gura Portitei tourist resort can be discovered by clicking on any of the six thumbnails in the left-hand cluster below, the first of them perhaps being most informative, as it comes from a 2003-copyright tourist map and shows a spa located on an inland lake rather than on the Black Sea, which seems to place that spa not merely within the southern tip of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, but actually within one of the Reserve's Strictly Protected Zones.  Either there are two tourist resorts at this location (the "spa" on the map and the Gura Portitei resort not shown on the map), or else the two are one and the same.  The sixth thumb in the left-hand cluster provides the highest resolution (look for Gura Portitei on its upper-right), but is of limited utility because although its dashed line indicating "Natural Reserve" appears to enlcose Gura Portitei, this dashed line does not appear to represent the UNESCO Strictly Protected Zone that is of interest here, as can be seen by consulting the legend accessible by clicking the MOSAIC link above the map.  That the location of Gura Portitei does lie within a Strictly Protected Zone (Zone 11: Periteasca-Bisericuta-Portita), a designation favored by UNESCO, is suggested by the maps connected to the three thumbnails in the right-hand cluster below:

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    Below is a description of the construction that Gura Portitei tourist resort required, along with four photographs from the Gura Portitei web site:

    During the last years, a remarkable investment has been made following the sustainable tourism principles.  A the new touristic site with an accommodation capacity 230 places which is made up out of 72 places for bungalows, 158 places in wooden huts and three stars hotel has been built.  Suitable areas have been arranged for tent settlements.  The touristic development plan includes all the required facilities for ecological and sustainable tourism in this natural reserve; Sewage, freshwater networks, a sewage treatment station and freashwater treatment have been installed recently.  Toilets and warm water showers, an observation tower for lifeguards and reed umbrellas for tourist have been placed on the beach.

    It seems incongruous, then, that on the one hand the world is silent concerning Romania's construction of a resort within the Romanian Danube Delta, possibly even within a Strictly Protected Zone, when such a resort must necessarily occupy a considerable area and must disrupt all biosphere activity in its vicinity, while on the other hand the world is vociferous in its condemnation of Ukraine's dredging an existing channel, whose disturbance of the Delta habitat must be substantially smaller.

    5.  Romania may be building three superhighways, two ports, and one bridge within the Danube Delta

    Below is a detail, along with the legend, from a draft version of a map of the Black Sea Pan-European Transport Area (BS-PETrA) which can be viewed in its entirety at
    MAP: PETrA, or at its place of original publication www.bs-petra.org/8/.  The following observations assume that the broad yellow lines are indeed roads as indicated in the legend, and not the waterways that they sometimes parallel.  If the yellow lines can sometimes refer to nearby waterways, then the legend is negligent for not saying so, and for not explaining why sometimes the yellow clings tightly to the Danube, why sometimes it only parallels the Danube loosely, and why sometimes it veers away from the Danube markedly, as can be seen happening between Budapest-Bratislava-Wien on the full map.  The following observations, then, trust that the legend is correct in stating that yellow lines indicate roads, and concern the effect of the development of transportation infrastructure on the Danube Delta:

    1. Three Pan-European Corridor roads are shown cutting through the heart of the Romanian Danube Delta, two sandwiched between and paralleling the Kilia and the Sulina, and one south of the George.  If these roads already exist, then it is reasonable to anticipate that an increase in traffic will be disruptive to the delta ecosystem, and might require road widening.  However, it is unlikely that they already exist, as none of the maps examined so far show them, and the World Wildlife Fund states that "There are no roads into the delta; all traffic is by boat.  Access is limited, so wild creatures are cushioned from the pressures of the modern world." www.panda.org/about_wwf/~

    2. The two Pan-Europen Corridors sandwiched between the Kilia and Sulina do not connect to Europe by means of any other Pan-Europen Corridor, whereas the corridor below the George, and which does connect to the rest of Europe, lies nearby, such that it might be reasonable to suppose that Romania intends ultimately to connect the two former to the latter by means of a bridge across the Tulcea Branch of the Danube.

    3. Although there already exists a port at Sulina ("Solina" on this map), the red anchor indicates a "planned/under construction" port, which might at first be taken to mean that the existing Sulina port is to be expanded so as to become worthy of the two Pan-European Corridors which will lead to it, which expansion would encroach upon the delta ecosystem.  However, this first impression might underestimate the magnitude of the encroachment, because the existing town and port of Sulina are located south of the Sulina Canal, whereas the "planned/under construction" port shown on the PETrA map is located north of the Sulina Canal.  It might be the case, then, that Romania is planning, or already constructing, a new port within the Danube Delta, and possibly a large one capable of handling the vehicular traffic brought by the confluence of two Pan-European Corridors.

    4. It is implausible that the Pan-European Corridor below the George will simply end at the Black Sea.  If this were the case, then surely it would not be considered a Pan-European Corridor.  Surely a Pan-European Corridor implies the carrying of volume commercial traffic, such that Romania can be inferred to be planning to build at the end of that particular Pan-European Corridor underneath the George yet another port, which is to say planning to build a second new port in addition to the new port north of the Sulina.

    Draft version of a map of the Black Sea Pan-European Transport Area (BS-PETrA) which can be viewed in its entirety either at MAP: PETrA, or at its place of original publication www.bs-petra.org/8/.  TRACECA in the legend stands for TRAnsport Corridor Europe Caucausus Asia.  Indication of the location of the Bystre Channel has been added to the map above.

    In short, while Romania protests Ukraine dredging the silt off the bottom of an existing channel within its Danube Delta, Romania may itself be building, or at least planning to build, within its Danube Delta three superhighways, two ports, and one bridge.

    6.  Romania Has Been Stealing Ukraine's Water

      A.   The allegation is made

    The BBC report above stated that "Romanian experts say that dredging the Bystroye canal could result in an acceleration of water flow in the area.  The new canal will draw some of the water flowing now via other branches of the Danube.  That will disturb the natural balance of the delta, says Romulus Stiuca of the Romanian Danube Delta Institute."  However, Romania has long ago disrupted the "natural" balance of water flowing to Ukraine and Romania; today that balance is decidedly more artificial than natural.  In fact, Romania has has been diverting an increasing proportion of all Danube water for its own use, which is one of the reasons for the heavy silting of channels and the lowering of water levels on the Ukrainian side, which Ukrainians complain of below, complaints which clash with the view encountered above that the Kilia takes an unchanging two-thirds of all Danube water:

    At the same time, we are very much concerned with the current situation in the Danube Delta as a whole. We have every reason to claim that it is due to unilateral and uncoordinated steps by Romania that the distribution of water flow in the Danube mainstream changed dramatically in favor of Romania over the last century.  In 1895 Ukraine had 70 percent of total water flow, while by 2000 it was reduced to 53 percent. Currently, we keep losing 3-4 percent of water flow every year.

    This redistribution occurred not because of natural processes (nature works in Ukraines favor and tries to restore the original water course), but due to continued and systematic hydro-technical works carried out by the Romanian authorities, without notification of Ukraine.  As a matter of record, Ukraine informed Romania about its intention to reopen the Danube waterway in October 2003 and received no reaction until May 2004.  In fact, over the last decade we lost much of the navigational depth in the Ukrainian part of the delta, and we were forced to search a solution that would allow us to restore previously existing navigation conditions.

    Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kiev, Ukraine, Ukraine's Danube Waterway: Putting Reality Before Myths  www.ukremb.org.uk/eng/news/info/~

    It should be noted that over the past 100 years, the proportion of river flow accounted for by the Kilia arm has decreased from 70% to 53%.  By contrast, the Tulcea arm flow has increased from 30% to 47%.

    The President of Ukraine Administration

    The passage in the branch Bystryy has existed.  The people remember well these times.  And birds are not bothered with the ship traffic.  But at the same time due to the works conducted by Romania side our section of the delta is becoming shallow.  The question rises itself, why international supervisors are not attracted by the activity of the Romania side.

    S. K. Chumak, Deputy of Municipal Council, in Ukrainian Embassy in Austria www.ukremb.at/aktuell/docs/min2004e.pdf

    The history of the last century shows an ecological and hydrological catastrophe takes place which started after construction of Sulinskiy channel by Romania due to which a redistribution of the water flow occurred and the Ukrainian part of the delta began getting shallow.

    E. S. Eremin, Representative of the public of Izmail town, public correspondent of the towns newspaper My land, in Ukrainian Embassy in Austria www.ukremb.at/aktuell/docs/min2004e.pdf

    Romanias construction of its own canals resulted in altering the current in the Ukrainian section of the Danube delta.  Evening out the banks increased the speed of current in the Romanian canals, just as the Ukrainian ones grew shallow.  Such changes in the current could cause a disaster, Mr. Bezdolny, stressed, explaining that the Ukrainian canals could get silted.  This would upset the ecological balance, destroying wild and plant life.

    Serhiy Solodky, Bastroe Canal Site, The Day, 14-Sep-2004  www.day.kiev.ua/123722

      B.   Shortcuts bypass six meanders in the George

    Some of the actions that Romania has taken to increase water flow away from the Kilia and into the Tulcea are plainly visible in maps — thirteen of the actions to be exact.  Six of them are the straightening of the George that has been discussed above — until such straightening is explicitly cancelled and renounced, it is prudent to consider it either a work in progress, or a work completed and awaiting an opportune moment for disclosure.  Straightening means faster water flow, and therefore a competitive advantage for the Tulcea taking water from the Kilia.

      C.   Shortcuts bypass two meanders in the Sulina

    Two additional instances of straightening leap out upon any inspection of a map of the Romanian Delta — these are the bypassing of two giant meanders in the Sulina Canal already alluded to in the quotations above, the meanders today being called collectively the Dunarea Veche (Old Danube).  Following excavation of the rectilinear Sulina canal, the channel into the Dunarea Veche on the west quite dried up, and on the east narrowed.  The Dunarea Veche, then, plays no significant role today in slowing the fast water flowing down the Sulina Canal or in distributing Danube nutrients to the delta:

    Half-size detail from MOSAIC: WHOLE DANUBE DELTA ROMANIAN.  The original can be consulted for a magnified image, as well as for for a view of the periphery.

      D.   Five canals drain water out of the George

    On top of the 6 + 2 = 8 instances of meander-bypassing noted above, there can be seen five impressive canals designed to draw water from the George, which must inevitably lower water level in the George, and therefore increase water flow into the George, and so on back upstream until at the Kilea-Tulcea divide, more water is demanded by the Tulcea to feed these five canals:

    Detail from Map: Romanian Delta Roads.  Five canals which drain water from the George Channel also drain water from the Kilia.  Labels in rectangular boxes added.

      E.   The Crisan and Caraorman Canals drain water out of the Sulina

    Half-size detail from the higher-resolution Clickable mosaic of Romanian map covering the Danube Delta
    Some maps, like MAP: DONAUDELTA, or like the one on the right which continues southward the Dunarea Veche map not far above, draw the Crisan (also known as the Crisan-Caraorman) and the Caraorman Canals as thin, faint lines which give the impression that the canals are in the nature of irrigation ditches that one might be able to jump across, or even step over.  However, actually seeing some of these canals, as in the photograph below of the Crisan-Caraorman approximately where it meets the Litcov, may give a quite different impression.  Perhaps the thin line on the map was not drawn to scale, and should have been thicker.

    In fact, the Crisan and Caraorman canals are considered to be large.  They were built by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu as part of his grand scheme to exploit the sand deposits in the vicinity of the Ukrainian town of Caraorman: "Ceausescu wanted to transform Caraorman in an important economic center of the Danube Delta.  The huge quantity of sand (sand deposits have the largest spreading in the Delta) and its quality (a very fine sand) have lead to the building of a site, which would exploit to the max these resources.  Especially for the transportation of sand, a very deep and large channel has been digged: Crisan-Caraorman"  www.caraorman.ro/~.  "Its large dimensions betray the dictator's intentions of making it a high traffic channel.  It was deep initially, but the natural process of clogging has reduced its depth in some places except its last portion where there isn't any stream so there weren't many alluvionary deposits"  www.caraorman.ro/~.  "On the next day we set out by the Caraorman canal, very wide, split in order to allow ships to navigate on the planned sand exploitation.  Very soon, we reach the basin with metal dinosaurs and with the ghost-like lugubrious alignment of deserted blocks.  They represent the remnants of the terrible project of quartz sand exploitation from the Caraorman field"  library.thinkquest.org/~.  Further information relevant to the Caraorman canals is available at  MAP: CARAORMAN.

    A Ukrainian town in the middle of the Romanian Danube Delta, by the way, should occasion no surprise — in fact it is possible to view the entire Delta was peopled predominantly by Ukrainians and Russians whose languages and cultures the Romanian administration has forcibly suppressed over the years, a topic that will be returned to in due course:

    LOCAL HUMAN POPULATION Estimated at between 12,000 and 16,000 (most of Ukrainian orthodox Lipki descent), depending on the definition of the area covered and residence status (EEN, 1990; IUCN-EEP, 1991).  The lower figure is considered to be 50% less than 50 years ago (Pons and Pons-Ghitulescu, 1990).

    Global Coordinate  www.redtailcanyon.com/items/13518.aspx

    The Soviet maps support the view that the thin lines under discussion here are misleading.  Drawn approximately 1983 to 1985, the Soviet maps antedated Ceausescu's Crisan and Caraorman Canal building, but the Soviet maps were already representing even the canals in existence at the time with more than a thin line, as can be seen in The Romanian government's six problematic meanders on the upper-right where the cluster of buildings is the village of Caraorman, and the canal just east of it is the Caraorman Canal as it looked at the time, and the canal connecting to the top of George Meander #3 is the Litcov.

    The Ceausescu-built Crisan-Caraorman Canal near its connection with the Litcov Canal, from  www.caraorman.ro/locuri/cri-cara/eng.html.

    Relevant here is that the Crisan and Caraorman Canals are an impressive instance of Romania draining water from the Sulina as it was just above seen to be draining water from the George.  In either case, the resulting heightened demand for water is felt upstream, and Danube water that would otherwise flow into the Kilia toward the Ukrainian delta is diverted instead into the Tulcea where it will flow toward the Romanian delta.  The post-Ceausescu regime can be faulted for recently dredging the Caraorman, and thus maintaining or increasing the theft of Danube water that Ceausescu's Caraorman project began.  To be kept in mind in reading the statement below is the possibility that the Crisan is viewed by some as the canal leading to the village of Caraorman, and for that reason may sometimes itself be referred to as the Caraorman Canal:

    The recent dredging of the Caraorman canal is resulting in further degradation of some lakes in the heart of the Delta.

    Le dragage récent du canal de Caraorman a accéléré la dégradation de certains lacs sités au coeur du delta.

    World Heritage Nomination — IUCN Summary, 588: Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Romania), English on p. 57 and French on pp. 61-62  whc1.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/588.pdf

      F.   Nazi blocking of Soviet Navy from the Danube slows water flow through the Starostambulske

    Three additional measures that Romania has employed to take Danube water appear in the statement below:

    For example, we can mention the dam built in our territory (at the mouth of Starostambulsky Branch) in 1943; the stream catching dam at Izmailsky Chatal built in the prewar period but reconstructed and consolidated many times ever since; and recent dumping of the dredged materials from the Tulcea Branch in Romania to the Kiliya Branch in frontier area in shared waters with Ukraine.

    Ukraine-European Union, Official Site of the Mission of Ukraine to European Communities  www.ukraine-eu.mfa.gov.ua/~

    The first of the above measures (1943 dam at the mouth of the Starostambulske which was at the time the premier shipping channel) was a Romanian contribution to the Nazi war effort whose purpose was to exclude the Soviet navy from the Danube, and which act of war, perpetrated on Ukrainian territory, Ukraine today has every right to undo:

    In the last few years the problem of the reconstruction of navigation on Starombulsriy branch of the Danube had been investigated.  Till June, 1941 it was the basic shipping one and on which it was possible to support steadily depths in 7,2 m.  Romania, being involved in the war at the German fascist part, was afraid of intrusion of Dnepr military flotilia to the Danube.  Therefore the channel on the marine bar was heaped with boxes of stones, then the northern winds and currents which had covered a bar with sands had finished the process.  Since then Starostambul branch became non-navigable [30].

    Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine.  Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Environmental Problems.  Environmental Assessment (EA) within the framework of the project "Creation of the Danube-the Black Sea deep-water navigable passage in the Ukrainian part of the delta. Stage 1."  www.mtu.gov.ua/~

      G.   Izmailsky-Fork Causeway diverts water into Romania

    LEFT: The Danube branches into the Kilia and the Tulcea, with no Romanian causeway evident.  Detail from Soviet Map L-35-106.  RIGHT: Romanian causeway diverts Danube water into the Tulcea  APPENDIX: ROMANIA DIVERTS DANUBE.

    The second of the above measures (dam at the Izmailsky Chatal — which is the Izmailsky bifurcation or fork — of the Danube just upstream of the Ukrainian town of Izmail) refers to the causeway that Romania has built out into the Danube to deflect water away from the Kilia and into the Tulcea.  No such causeway is apparent in any available map, as for example not in the 1984 Soviet map from which the detail on the far left is taken, though the dam can be seen in the accompanying satellite photograph.

    Details of this Romanian causeway are as follows, it being noteworthy in the final paragraph below that the transformation of the George Channel into a shipping canal by means of straightening and deepening is spoken of as a fait accompli:

    , ' ʳ ( 㳺). , 250 .  .  . , .

    But these are minor considerations in comparison with Romania building a stone causeway at the point where the Danube divides into the Kilia and the Tulcea branches (the latter itself further dividing a few kilometers downstream into the Sulina and the George).  At first this causeway was comparatively short, but in the end reached 250 meters.  Today it can be seen even in satellite photographs.  It extends across a significant portion of the width of the Danube and causes a substantial increase in water flow to the Romanian part of the delta.  Naturally, water flow to the Ukrainian part is significantly reduced.

    , . . : , ʳ , . 1913 70 , 1960-1965 . - 62 , 2001-2003 . - 52 . , 90 ʳ 18 . 9 20 , .

    The effects of this activity are documented in observations gathered by the Danube Hydrometeorological Observatory in Izmail.  The data eloquently testifies that the proportion of the flow through the Kilia channel is progressively decreasing.  In 1913, it was 70 percent; in 1960, 62 percent; in 2001-2003, only 52 percent.  Therefore, over the course of 90 years, the Kilia's proportion of flow fell by 18 percent.  At the same time, Sulina flow increased from 9 to 20 percent, which is to say, it more than doubled.

    , — 㳺.  . , .  1913 21 , 2001-2003 . - 27 .

    The second great branch which passes through Romanian territory — the George — received similar treatment.  It was straightened and deepened.  Obviously, the flow through the branch was affected.  In 1913, 21 percent of the total flowed through this branch, in 2001-2003, almost 27 percent.

    Navigation in the Danube Delta: Competitors storm amid ecological calm, Ukrainian Ministry of Transport and Communications  www.mtu.gov.ua/~.  Translated by LP.

    It might be noted that the Romanian causeway differs from projects which divert water incidentally to achieving other goals.  In contrast to them, the causeway has no purpose other than to divert water.  Thus, Romania objects to Ukraine's Bystre incidentally and unavoidably drawing some immeasurably small volume of Danube water into Ukraine, even while Romania itself dedicates an entire project to the sole purpose of drawing a large volume of Danube water into Romania.

      H.   Romania dumps Sulina and Tulcea dredging into the Kilia

    The third of the above further Romanian measures to divert water flow into Romania (dumping Sulina dredgings into the Kilia) receives the following further comment:

    , ?  , , , ʳ , .

    And where is the silt that is removed from the Sulina branch in the course of its deepening dumped?  Amazingly, the Romanian side sees nothing sinful about occasionally dumping it not on its own territory, but into the Kilia branch, down the middle of which runs the national boundary.

    Navigation in the Danube Delta: Competitors storm amid ecological calm, Ukrainian Ministry of Transport and Communications  www.mtu.gov.ua/~.  Translated by LP.

    The dredged matter dumped into the Kilia comes also from the Tulcea (also known as the Tulchinsky Distributary) and continues to at least 21-Sep-2004 despite Ukrainian protests:

    Moreover, the draft note states that Romanian continues to dump soil from Romania's Tulchinsky distributary into Ukraine's Kiliiskyi distributary of the Danube delta despite several warnings from Ukraine.

    Transport and Communications Ministry Asking Foreign Ministry to Protest to Romania, Ukrainian News, UkraineNow, 21-Sep-2004  www.ukrnow.com/~

      I.   Summary of Romanian water theft

    Reviewed above have been the following Romanian engineering feats: six George meanders bypassed, two Sulina meanders bypassed, five canals dug to drain the George, the Caraorman dug to drain the Sulina, one dam blocking the mouth of the Starostambulske, one causeway built to deflect water at the Izmailsky fork, and one series of dumps of Sulina and Tulcea dredging into the Kilia.  Addition gives a total of 17 Romanian engineering feats.  A question which may be asked is whether every one of these 17 Romanian engineering feats may not suck more water out of the Kilia than the Bystre Canal will suck water out of the Tulcea.  The question may even be asked whether every one of these 17 Romanian engineering feats may not suck twice as much or ten times as much.  This is an empirical question whose answer experts can estimate, and which answer is needed to provide a context for the discussion of Bystre dredging causing a reduction in water flow in other parts of the Danube Delta.

    If Romania's innumerable (the above 17 are but a sample) unilateral actions have been giving it an increasing proportion of Danube water, then the Bystre might be viewed as beginning in its small way to correct an escalating injustice, and the Ukrainian project might be defended by offering that it would take ten Bystres or a hundred or a thousand — whatever the experts calculate — for Ukraine to achieve equity in water confiscation with Romania.  In fact, however, an enlarged Bystre is incapable of any appreciable change in the relative division of waters at the branching of the Danube into the Kilia and Tulcea for two reasons: (1) the closer that dredging takes place to the sea level of the Black Sea, the less effect it has upstream (the greatest part of Ukrainian dredging has been in the Bystre estuary — actually out in the Black Sea); and (2) the Danube fork at which the allocation of water takes place is 120 km upstream of the Bystre.

    And if Leo Platvoet ventures further opinions on the inadvisability of the Bystre Canal, he might be asked whether on his fact-finding tour his Romanian hosts treated him to an inspection of their Danube-deflecting causeway, or explained to him how Romania's blocking of the Starostambulske as the premier shipping channel was accomplished during Romania's invasion along with Nazi Germany of Ukraine, or showed him how quickly it has become possible to roar down the George in a speedboat now that its major meanders have been shortcutted, or delighted him with the swiftness of Crisan-Caraorman current bearing water away from the Sulina, or entertained him with the spectacle of dumping Sulina silt into the Kilia.

    Some Ukrainians look forward to the day when their government has gained enough confidence to declare that, for example, it has a right to remove the Nazi 1943 blocking of the Starostambulske, or that the Romanian causeway is intolerable and indefensible and must be dismantled.  If UNESCO wishes to preserve the Danube Delta, it would do better to take Ukraine's side in such fair demands than Romania's side in its unfair demand that the world protect it against Ukraine's economic competition.

    7.  Elementary comparisons

      A.   Birds killed by Romanian hunting compared to birds killed by Ukrainian canal construction

    UNEQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE of Romanian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve waterfowl killed by Romanian-sponsored hunting.  Hunter Company Romania  www.hunterco.ro/~

    EQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE of Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve birds killed by Ukrainian-sponsored canal construction.  Photo taken 16-Jul-2004, purportedly on beach overlooking construction and dredging at the Bystre estuary.  From  www.seu.ru/projects/eng/dunay/jertvy.htm

    In the UNEQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photograph on the left, we see that Romanian-sponsored hunters are able to obtain licences to kill waterfowl in substantial numbers within the Romanian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.  The Hunter Company Romania web site discloses that the Romanian government, and Romanian citizens, turn a profit from licensing humans to kill not only Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve ducks, but also geese, African turtle doves, quails, snipes, skylarks, woodcocks, fieldfares, redwings, partridges, pheasants, rabbits, deer, fallow deer, stag, chamois, wild boar, moufflons, bear, capercaille, wolf, and lynx.  The photograph of dead waterfowl in the UNEQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photograph, then, is only a small indication of the slaughter that is carried on without environmentalist objection inside the Romanian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

    As for any comparable photograph of an array of birds killed by Ukrainian Bystre canal dredging and construction — there is none.  And whereas photographs can undoubtedly be found of Romanian-sponsored hunters proudly displaying their killed deer and wild boar and chamois and bear and wolf and lynx, it is safe to assume that no photographs can be found of these same animals killed by Bystre construction.

    The strongest evidence of Bystre construction harming birds is the EQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photograph on the right, which comes with the following explanation:

    First victims of Danube canalization — Ukrainian government and German moebius have killed bird colony.

    Thousands of terns' chicken had died in the eggs on Ptichya (the Bird) spit near the Bystroe estuary at the Danube delta.  This is the first (but not the last) tragic result of the dredging carried out at the Bystroe estuary by German company Moebius contracted by Minstry of Transport of Ukraine.  The noise coming from the working dredgers is spreadin around for 5-7 km. 

    Representatives of Danube biosphere reserve and 3 other organizations with sadness had to document death of tern colonies — Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) and common tern (Sterna hirundo) that nested at the Ptichya (the Bird) spit near the Bystroe estuary.

    On July 16 joint group recorded the following:

    On the location of two large Sanwich tern colonies (previously recorded 950 and 430 nests at June 28) and one common tern colony ( 120 nests recorded at the same date) remains of many hundreds of tern eggs were found.  The egg damage shows that no chicken appeared.  The chicken were expected to come out of the eggs around July 20.  No grown up birds were present — the colony abandoned the Ptichya (the Bird) spit.  The most possible case of the colony vanishing was overwhelming disturbance coming from dredging fleet and service scooters working at the Bystroe estuary.

    Sergey Shaparenko, Vladimir Boreyko, and Olga Zakharova, "First victims of Danube canalization — Ukrainian government and German moebius have killed bird colony," Socio-Ecological Union, undated  www.seu.ru/projects/eng/dunay/jertvy.htm

    However, flocks of birds cannot be trusted to flee the scene of dredging and off-shore construction, a distrust which is supported by the 29-Jun-2004 photographs below taken at the Bystre estuary.  (It is understood, of course, that without a beach being included in the photograph, BIRDS-SHIPS-3 and BIRDS-SHIPS-6 can be understood to mean not that the vessel looks big because it is close to shore, and its noise therefore louder, but that it was photographed with a telephoto lens.)  Given that Bystre construction began on 11-May-2004, and that these photographs were therefore taken on the 49th day of construction, the abundant presence of birds can mean only one thing — they haven't been bothered enough by the construction to leave!  If they had been substantially bothered, they would have left as soon as the noise began.  That is when the noise would have been most frightening because most unfamiliar, and when they hadn't had time to get used to it.  But if the birds have remained for 49 days, it must mean that the noise didn't bother them much to begin with, and that with prolonged exposure, they have become habituated and are bothered even less.  BIRDS-SHIPS-6 reminds us of the common sight of birds following ships — they are unafraid of ships, and they even like ships, which is reminiscent of scenes that are commonplace around Vancouver, Canada, where a farmer on a tractor pulling a tiller is followed by a flock of sea gulls who settle on the just-turned soil immediately behind the tractor to feast on the worms and grubs that have been exposed; or of crows foraging in the middle of a road, hopping out of the way when a car approaches, and hopping back into the road to continue their foraging as soon as the car has passed.  In other words, birds may not always be as traumatized by man's presence as it is easy to assume.  People who have lived on the edge of the British Columbia wilderness soon experience bears and coyotes and deer and racoons and skunks and crows all hanging around man in the hope of finding food more easily than they can in the woods.  Eagles circle over the city because small, snatchable animals are more plentiful than they are in the wild.










    All six photographs above were taken 29-Jul-2004 at the Bystre estuary, and were originally published by Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds  www.utop.org.ua/eng/news23.htm

    So, then, for 49 days, Bystre construction continues and the birds stay.  Then what?  Then on 29-Jul-2004 there is a visit from environmental activists.  The activists arrive, they walk around and take the above six photographs, and we don't know how many activists there are, or how long they stay, or what they themselves might have done to disturb the birds.

    Next observation is the 16-July-2004 EQUIVOCAL-EVIDENCE photograph on the right above, taken seventeen days after the arrival of the activists, by which time (we are told) the birds have vanished (and are furthermore presumed not to have merely relocated, but to have died).  Exactly when they vanished, we are not told.  Let us say that it was X days after the 29-Jun-2004 above six photographs were taken, where 0 <= X <= 17.  And what might have caused the bird's disappearance?  Well, we can be almost sure that it was not the Bystre work, because the birds demonstrated their indifference to it for 49 + X days, and no reason is proposed why their indifference could not have extended indefinitely.  To the birds, the boats had become ordinary.  The only thing that we know of that was extraordinary in the birds' experience, and that therefore might have caused them to flee, was the visit by the activists.

    For another matter, if all the terns had fled for some reason (let us assume a sudden and intolerable escalation of noise), then it is to be expected that their abandoned eggs would be depredated, which is to say broken open, and eaten, by any one of perhaps a score of different animals that are ready to eat eggs as soon as they find them unguarded.  Foxes, racoons, otters, mink, rats, gulls, owls, crows — all would have quickly found the abandoned eggs and feasted on them.  Here, for example, are some observations made by Canadian tern watcher, Ted C. D'Eon, on Nova Scotia's North and South Brother Islands demonstrating that tern eggs are under constant attack even when a flock of adult terns is at hand to protect them, which terns do fiercely (and demonstrating also that a failure to produce surviving chicks may happen for reasons other than canal-construction noise):

    No tern chicks survived to fledgling on S. Brother in 1998.  Possibly 50 did in 1997.

    Several factors contributed to the extremely poor outcome on The Brothers in 1998.  Weather was a big factor.  It was cold, wet and windy during the egg incubation period.  But the main and preventable factor was egg depredation by, possibly, a single Crow, and the assumption that the terns would be in the air mobbing the Crow when they should have been on their nests incubating their eggs.  Many of the eggs the Crow did not get were cold and failed to hatch.

    Royden D'Eon, at his aquaculture pens near N. Brother, reported seeing a single Crow (or at least, one Crow at a time) travelling back and forth from N. Brother to the mainland during the whole time terns were on N. Brother.  In August, 1998, after the terns had left the island he started seeing 4 or 5 Crows on N. Brother at one time.  I personally saw a Crow being mobbed by the terns of N. Brother several times as it made its way from N. Brother to the mainland.  On one occasion I saw the crow leaving N. Brother with an egg in its bill.

    The Crow, however, appears to have been mainly involved with removing tern eggs from their nests and eating them on the island at designated secure locations.  Inside a rusted 45 gallon oil drum [see photo on page 5] appears to have been the primary site for this activity.  Several hundred tern eggs were eaten there.  There were also a half a dozen more sites where this activity took place on N. Brother.  The Crow is beleived to have been feeding its own chicks on the mainland as some were seen there.

    There was the usual, and probably minor, Owl or Hawk depredation on The Brothers in 1998.

    Ted C. D'Eon, Tern Report, 1998, Lobster Bay, Southwest Nova Scotia  pages.ca.inter.net/~deonted/tern98.html.  Bold emphasis was in the original.

    In addition, the Danube Delta tern eggs in the EQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photogrpah would not have been left neatly in their nesting positions, perhaps as many as eight pairs of eggs lying in contact as they might have lain when first abandoned, but would have been scattered by the depredator, or taken by him to a secure dining place, as Ted C. D'Eon described above, and as he photographed below:

    Rusted 45 gal. drum with depredated tern eggs and Arctic Tern body.  Photo and caption by Ted C. D'Eon, Tern Report, 1998, Lobster Bay, Southwest Nova Scotia  pages.ca.inter.net/~

    However, none of the eggs in the EQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photograph appear to have been depredated, which is to say none have been broken open, and all appear to remain in their original nesting positions, evenly spaced over the terrain as the terns would have placed them, and touching where a nest contained two eggs.  But how could it have happened that depredation was so completely avoided?  One way is by a photographer walking up to a colony of nesting terns, frightening all the terns into the air, then photographing the eggs that the terns have momentarily abandoned.  Given the absence of scruples flaunted by critics of the Bystre project, such a possiblity cannot be excluded.

    This is not to argue that it has been proven that the environmental activists are responsible for scaring away the terns, or that it has been proven that they faked their evidence, or that it has been proven that Bystre construction harming birds is an impossibility.  In fact, none of these things has been proven, but rather each has been offered as a possibility which might be true, and which needs to be considered.  What is argued here is that the environmental activists' EQUIVOCAL EVIDENCE photograph and accompanying explanation will remain unconvincing until they satisfactorily address the following two propositions:

    1. If the terns fled X days after the arrival of the activists, and 49 + X days after the arrival of Bystre construction, then the principle that causal connection requires close temporal juxtaposition suggests that the arrival of the activists is the more likely cause.

    2. A scene showing only undepredated eggs suggests that the birds fled recently, maybe even as recently as one minute earlier upon the approach of the photographer.

    Among the elementary comparisons that Bystre critics fail to make, then, is that between how Romanian-sponsored hunters are regarded, and how Ukrainian-sponsored canal builders are regarded.  The Romanian hunters are permitted to proudly display a stack of 50 dead Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve birds without raising environmentalist objections; the Ukrainian canal builders raise environmentalist objections even when no photographs of their killed birds can be offered in evidence.  Also, Romanian hunters are implicitly permitted to excuse their pile of 50 dead birds by appealing to the principle that man has a right to kill animals not only for his need, but even for his pleasure, neither of which defenses would be allowed Ukrainian canal builders.  If the day should ever come — and it won't — when environmentalists are able to stack 50 Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve waterfowl that have been killed by Bystre ships that day, then Ukrainian canal builders will certainly not be allowed to answer, as Romanian hunters do, that killing the birds had been fun, and they won't even be allowed to answer that their killing had been a byproduct of economic necessity.

    In this accusation of Bystre-construction noise destroying flocks of birds there are strong signs of lack of professionalism, and indeed of lack of minimal competence and serious intent.  If noise is suggested as a cause of bird destruction, then technicians should have measured that noise, and its intensity should have been reported.  Absent such measurement, and absent substantial confirmation that the bird population is not what it should be, the accusation may be taken to be primitive propaganda generated by people lacking the basic intellectual skill of knowing what is needed in order to convince.

    In any case, it has subsequently become unmistakable that the accusation of destroyed bird colonies has been simply a hoax, as evidenced by the Romanian press admitting in its opening three sentences below that no evidence of Bystre-construction harm has been found even as late as 23-Mar-2005 which is to say, no evidence of falling water levels, no evidence of pollution, no evidence of harm to the environment, and no evidence of destroyed bird colonies!

    "Bystroye impacts will be visible in time," says Danube Delta Governor
    March 23 2005

    The dragging works conducted by Ukraine on the Bystroye Channel and on the Danube Delta's littoral will have in time a cumulated negative effect on the local eco-systems, Danube Delta Governor Virgil Munteanu told daily Jurnalul national in an interview carried on Tuesday.

    According to him, it is too early now to prove with scientific arguments that the first stage of the dragging works had any impact on the ecosystem of the Danube Delta.

    "Romanian specialists have always said the impact of the project will cumulate in time and that the negative impacts of the project will be visible in the flows and levels of the Danube River getting low," says Munteanu.

    Daily News Romania  www.dailynews.ro/stiri/2005/03/6874.htm

    It remains to be seen how the "Romanian specialists" cited above will eventually be able to measure the effects of Bystre Channel construction when in the meantime a score of non-Ukrainian projects and activities are underway which can also be expected to impact the delta, as might meteorological changes.  If water levels do fall somewhere in the Delta, how will anyone know that this was not caused by, for example, reduced rainfall in Bavaria?  If fewer fish are caught somewhere, how will anyone know that this was not caused by, for example, Romanian poaching?

    From the very beginning, the selection of noise as the factor which was likely to harm the environment was implausible, the European Commission and International Conventions Team concluding repeatedly that noise was not expected to be a problem, as for example:

    According to the calculations the noise nuisance is permissible in reference to existing regulations.  In view of the sufficient distance from the shore the impact on a fauna will be negligible.  Out of the zone of 50m from the riverside the exceeding of the noise level permissible for reserves is not foreseen.

    Report on Scientific Research Work, Environmental Assessment, Joint Mission of the Expert Team of the European Commission and International Conventions to the Bystroe project in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta (6-8 October 2004)  europa.eu.int/~

    It remains for "Socio-Ecological Union" members Sergey Shaparenko, Vladimir Boreyko, and Olga Zakharova to explain why their story of destroyed bird colonies should not be viewed as falling somewhere between irresponsible and fraudulent.

      B.   Birds killed by Romanian pollution compared to birds killed by Hungarian pollution

    First, Romanian fear that the Bystre Channel will harm Delta fish and bird life seems hypocritical when contrasted with Romanian destruction of fish and bird life in several Danube tributaries, and indeed all life in the vicinity of some Danube tributaries, as has been noted above in connection with toxic spills, and as is documented below for birds by Greenpeace observers who between 21 and 27 February 2000 report the following contrast between the Romanian regions affected by the 30-Jan-2000 Baia Mare spill and a part of the Hungarian Danube upstream of the Romanian cyanide:

    Along the Lapus-Somes-Tisza rivers no bird life was observed, not even wagtails or crows on the river banks.  During the same week, on, for instance, the Danube near Budapest, flocks of gulls, cormorants, herons and greylag and white-fronted geese could be seen.  [...]

    Migrating waterfowl such as geese and ducks die immediately after touching the water of the basin [at Baia Mare].

    Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/aurul-romania.pdf

      C.   Ukrainian harm to animals compared to Romanian harm to humans

    Another comparison that is invited is that between Ukraine's feared harm to Danube Delta wildlife, and Romania's observed harm to its own people, a comparison likely to produce disapprobation of Romanian policy by observers who place a higher value on human welfare than on animal welfare:

    The average life expectancy in Baia Mare is 12 years below the Romanian average.

    (Source: Joszef Szaniszlo, vice-mayor of Baia Mare in: Hungarian weekly Heti Vilaggazdasag 19-02-00).

    The mortality rate in children is alarmingly high.  A 25-year old mother, Domnita Covacs, reports the death of her 4-year old daughter of a lung disease which her 3 remaining children are also suffering from.

    Before the construction of one smoke stack 350 metres tall, the whole town lived in a cloud of dust.  In former times, any time the "conducator" Nicolae Ceausescu was due to visit the town, ore processing industries were halted days before he arrived.

    (Source: Stefan Petrenau, a driver from Baia Mare, quoted in: MTI-Online (Hungarian News Agency), Dossier "CIANSZENNYEZDES" , March 2000)

    Environment and river systems in the region have accumulated toxic heavy metals and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for centuries and decades.

    Andreas Bernstorff and Judit Kanthak, The Real Face of the Kangaroo, Greenpeace, March 2000  archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/aurul-romania.pdf

    A WHO report Concern for Europes Tomorrow identified Baia Mare as a hot spot.  The survey reported on a survey that found that lead (Pb) levels in the blood of adults living near the lead smelter averaged 0.523 mg/L compared with the WHO recommended limit of 0.2 mg/L.  Children living near the plant had mean blood lead levels of 0.633 mg/L compared with the threshold of 0.10-0.15 mg/L now thought likely to be associated with detectable impairment of cognitive ability.  The report concluded that the exposure of the population in Baia Mare to lead proved to be among the highest ever recorded.

    Cyanide Spill at Baia Mare Romania, UNEP/OCHA Assessment Mission, March 2000, p. 9  www.ausimm.com/societies/baiamare.pdf

    Measurements such as the above give credence to the harsh judgment of BBC correspondent, George Monbiot:

    Ground water, drinking water and in some places air were rendered poisonous, and unknown tracts of farmland are now potentially lethal.  Monbiot demonstrated that in addition to the cyanide danger, farmland near the site of the leak contained levels of copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic that cause conditions in man ranging from nausea and respiratory problems to cancer and brain damage.  [...]

    Amid the rolling Carpathian foothills, Monbiot found poisonous factories causing endless daily miseries for the local population in what he termed "possibly the most polluted place in Europe."

    Oliver Craske, Their Poison, Central European Review, 29-May-2000  www.ce-review.org/~

      D.   Trivial consequences of Ukraine's Bystre Canal project compared to monstrous consequences of Romania's Rosia Montana project

    A third comparison is that between the inappreciable environmental harm that the Bystre Channel might cause, and the egregious harm that is being caused by several ongoing Romanian projects, leading among which is Romania's Rosia Montana cyanide-extraction gold mine:

    Roman staircase in the Carnic Massif

    Gold has been mined at Rosia Montana, in the Apuseni mountains of West-Central Romania, since pre-historic times.  The areas riches attracted several foreign powers including the Romans.  These powers carried off the precious metals to Rome, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin but left behind what has become an historical and archaeological treasure of world class.

    The seams of precious metals have long been worked out but gold and silver are still dispersed in microscopic quantities throughout the geology of the area.

    The project proposal is that by blasting and pulverising the landscape, the invisible gold and silver could be exposed to hazardous cyanide compounds that would separate them from the rock.

    The scenery would be devastated, hills transformed into massive craters in a toxic, sterile desert.

    This is a populated area.  The illegal process of forced resettlement has already begun.  Will these unique historical and archaeological remains be obliterated and people forced to leave their homes?

    Originally at www.rosiamontana.org

    Roman mausoleum in Rosia Montana, photo by Alburnus Maior  www.bankwatch.org/~

    Uncaptioned Rosia Montana scenes at www.smartsb.ro/scout/apuseni

    If realized, RMGCs gold mining project foresees the so-called relocation (destruction) of a total of ten churches and nine cemeteries.  Photograph and caption at Mining Watch Canada  www.miningwatch.ca/issues/Romania...

    Note by way of comparison all the things that Ukraine's Bystre Channel does not require.  The Bystre Channel does not require the destruction of any archeological treasures.  The Bystre Channel does not require that one valley be transformed into four open-pit mines, and another valley be transformed into a 600 hectare (1,482 acre) cyanide lake, a cyanide lake which is 1.8 times the size of New York City's 843-acre Central Park.  The Bystre Channel will not displace 2,000 people from their ancestral lands, and it will not demolish their 900 ancestral homes and their eight churches and their nine cemetaries.  Romania's Rosia Montana project, in contrast, will do all these things, as is described under the motto No dirty gold: The more you know, the less gold glows at Appendix: No Dirty Gold, originally at www.nodirtygold.org/rosia_montana....

    And to show more exactly what the Rosia Montana project will destroy, and with what the destruction will be replaced, there are available the remarkable Eurasisches Magazin photographs at Appendix: Fotoausstellung, originally published at www.eurasischesmagazin.de/~.

    Rosia Montana at romanians.bc.ca/~

    The hills are pulverized and carted to the cyanide lake 1.8 times the size of New York's Central Park where gold will be leached out  rosia.toahn.com

    It will be noted that no photographs documenting a Ukrainian disregard of the Danube Basin environment can be found to equal the Romanian disregard documented above.  And certainly Ukraine's modest and temperate diversion of some shipping from the Romanian Sulina to the Ukrainian Bystre — which is to say, from one Danube Delta waterway to another — does not provide scenes capable of inciting so strong a disapproval of an egregious instance of environmental degradation.

    Given the above-documented Romanian indifference to harming both wildlife and human life within the Danube Basin, and given no comparable indifference evident on the Ukrainian side, the Romanian expression of concern over a Ukrainian-caused "Danube Delta Disaster" may be suspected of being hypocritical, of constituting disinformation, and of being prompted by ulterior motives.

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1.  Does The Bystre Encroach On UNESCO Strictly Protected Zones in Romania?

    Map: Limita Reservatiei below shows that the existence of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve tolerates the heavily-travelled Sulina Canal across its middle, which demonstrates the insufficiency and hypocrisy of urging that Ukraine follow the rule that a canal may not cross a Biosphere Reserve.

    MAP: LIMITA RESERVATIEI.  This Romanian map marks the boundary of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve with a dashed line, and as is common in Romanian publications, completely excludes acknowledgement of any Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine.  "Bystre" and "Dragon's Beard" arrows, along with labels for the Romanian islands of Cernovka and Babina, have been added to the original.  The meandering George Channel can be seen to have been excavated into the straight George Canal.  The presence of the heavily-travelled Sulina Canal across its middle sets the precedent of accepting heavy commercial activity within a Biosphere Reserve, and the straightening of the George sets the precedent of favored nations being permitted to perpetrate massive disruption of an ecosystem without taking the smiles of the faces of environmental watchdogs.  Despite the ample size of the map, Strictly Protected Zones are not shown.

    It turns out, though, that the above Biosphere Reserve is carved up into sub-areas of different types, the most relevent being Strictly Protected Zones (Kernzonen in German, Zone Strict Protejate in Romanian, Zapovidni Iadry in Ukrainian — Kernzonen will frequently be used below because it is briefest), of which the Romanian Biosphere Reserve has eighteen, as indicated in Map: Romanian Kernzonen immediately below, and again in Map: Zone Strict Protejate just below that.  It is possibly these same Kernzonen that are shown drawn but unlabelled in Map: Six Shipping Canals.

    MAP: ROMANIAN KERNZONEN.  WWF depiction of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, originally at www.rec.org/DanubePCU/maps/delta.html, one of whose defects is that it clouds the pivotal issue of whether the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve includes any portion of the Ukrainian delta, but one of whose virtues is that it lists the 18 "Kernzonen" or "Strictly Protected Zones" that lie within the Biosphere Reserve, and to show them on the map enclosed in lines of pink dots.


    MAP: ROMANIAN KERNZONEN-2.  Detail from Map Romanian Kernzonen for purposes of clarification, modified by the addition of labels with arrows pointing to significant mouths of the Danube, by the thickening of the existing but faint dashed line through the Kilia indicating that the Biosphere Reserve boundary corresponds to the boundary between Ukraine and Romania, by the coloring red of the Dragon's Beard which lies to the west of the Starostambulske mouth, and by redrawing the pink dots which enclose Romania's Strictly Protected Zones as dark blue.  Noteworthy is the acknowledgement that the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is not a homogeneous area, but rather is an area of limited responsibility within which lie areas of higher responsibility — the "Kernzonen" or "Stictly Protected Zones" which, however, can be seen to occupy only a small proportion of the total Reserve.  It may come as a surprise to some conservationists that even a UNESCO Strictly Protected Zone does not stop Romania from building a tourist resort such as the one at Gura Portitei which appears to fall within Strictly Protected Zone 11 — the Zone called Periteasca-Bisericuta-Portita.  Of greatest significance is that Romania sets up its Kernzonen so that they will not overlap the Sulina or the George Canals.

    MAP: ZONE STRICT PROTEJATE-1.  This map is not as clear as others because it is smaller and because, except for a few Kilia islands, it does not show Ukraine.  The Starostambulske mouth is a faint line, without any outline of Ukrainian territory to either its east or west, although the distinctive curve at the point where the Biosphere Reserve boundary, following the international border, excludes the Dragon's Beard is unmistakable.  Close peering reveals that the George unmistakably bypasses its six large meanders with shortcut channels.  

    MAP: ZONE STRICT PROTEJATE-2.  Detail from Map: Zone Strict Protejate-1 has been modified by the addition of labels with arrows pointing to significant mouths of the Danube, by the blackening of the Biosphere Reserve border along its northern and eastern boundaries, and by the coloring of the Dragon's Beard red, whose location is inferred even though not outlined on the original map.  Nothing marks the location of the Bystre on the original map, and its arrow above points at approximately where it would appear if drawn.  Gura Portitei label and location dot have been added, Romania's placing of a tourist resort within a UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Strictly Protected Zone (Zone 11: Periteasca-Bisericuta-Portita) is indicative of Romanania's refusing to allow real UNESCO committments to hinder its own economic development of the Danube Delta, though interested in using imaginary UNESCO committments to damage the economic development of its competitors.

    The maps above raise the supicion that a large Romanian area has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for the purpose of attracting tourists to spend their money in its stores and restaurants and bars and hotels and casinos and boats, whereas the Kernzonen where the tourists would have less opportunity to lighten their pockets are kept small, just how small is admitted by Radio Romania International:

    The 18 strictly protected areas make up 10 percent of the total area of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

    Radio Romania International  www.rri.ro/index.php?lmb=4&art=604

    And the Kernzonen can be seen to have been made not only small, but situated so as not to straddle the two main shipping canals — the Sulina and the George.

    As for the Bystre, as no part of the Romanian Biospere Reserve overlaps Ukraine, no Romanian Strictly Protected Zone overlaps the Bystre.  And if it is permitted for the Sulina Canal to carry traffic alongside one Romanian Kernzone (Zone 17), and for the George Canal to carry traffic alongside four Romanian Kernzonen (Zones 6, 7, 10, and 18), then there would seem to be small justification for refusing to permit the Bystre to carry traffic at a distance from all Romanian Kernzonen.

    One may put the further question of whether increased traffic along the Starostambulske and Kilia which comes from an enlarged Bystre will affect any Romanian Kernzone, as some fear with regard to Kernzone 1, Rosca-Buhaiova, and Kernzone 2, Letea Forest:

    The protected areas closest to the Bâstroe canal are Rosca-Buhaiova, home to the largest colony of pelicans in Europe, and the Letea forest, well-known for its creeper-covered oak trees, which gives the forest a genuine subtropical climate.

    The construction's impact on environment: disastrous for the entire ecosystem — particularly in the case of certain rare bird species — and its effects will be visible in the next 4 - 5 years.

    Radio Romania International  www.rri.ro/index.php?lmb=4&art=604  Bold is in the original.

    These are serious accusations, and it is fortunate that their mentioning specific Kernzonen makes it possible to evaluate them.  Let us start with the accusation that the Bystre Channel will affect the Letea Forest UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Strictly Protected Zone 2, an accusation that can be evaluated with the help the two maps immediately below.

    ZONE #2. LETEA.  Adapted from Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA), Letea, at  www.ddbra.ro/~.  Labels in boxes, and direction of flow arrows, have been added.  Also added has been the red K/S which marks the spot opposite the entrance to the Ochakivske where, for purposes of the instant discussion, the Kilia is considered to end and the Starostambulske to begin.

    The Letea Kernzone occupies the triangular green area in the map on the left, and which can be extrapolated to the green indicative of vegetation in Map: Letea Forest below, the latter serving to bring out, in the first place, that the Letea Kernzone is beseiged by Romanian municipalities — the villages of Letea and Rosetti at its base, and Periprava toward its truncated apex, and, in addition, the larger village of Sfistofca nearby, a smaller and unnamed village on the margin of the Forest above Rosetti, a smaller one still to the lower-right of Periprava, and a cluster of buildings above Sfistofca.  On top of that, roads border the Letea on all sides, seeming to link Letea to Periprava, Letea to Rosetti, and Periprava to Sfistofca.  (One can imagine how all this might have changed in the 21 years since this Soviet map was drawn.)  On top of that, Romanian ecotourism does not consider the Letea Forest sacred — it drives its floating hotels along the Delta's many channels right up to the Letea, and there regales its hotel-loads of tourists with picnics, barbecues, and paintball competitions:

    Continuation of the route on the Dunarea Veche channel and visit the Letea forest where will be organized a picnic by the green grass; spending the night aboard the hotel.  [...]

    Back on the Dunarea veche channel where we will stop for a halt by the Letea forest for a barbeque and a paintball contest, spending the night aboard the hotel.

    Liscom Tour www.turismdelta.ro/routes.htm

    MAP: LETEA FOREST.  Lowered-resolution detail from the higher-resolution MOSAIC: UKRAINIAN DANUBE DELTA which facilitates discussion of the effect of the Bystre Channel on the Letea Forest UNESCO Kernzone (Strictly Protected Zone).  Labels enclosed in rectangles, along with the 8-km-long thick red line from the western tip of the Bystre to just inside the Letea Kernzone, have been added.  Also added has been the red K/S which marks the spot opposite the entrance to the Ochakivske where, for purposes of the instant discussion, the Kilia is considered to end and the Starostambulske to begin.  Spelling of Romanian names follows English usage rather than transliterating from the Russian in the map.

    And amidst this hubub of Romanian activity on the borders of the Letea Forest, and surely inside it as well, what further harm are those nasty Ukrainians about to inflict with their Bystre scheme?  Well, the map shows that a boat travelling from the Black Sea through the Bystre will first see Romanian territory when it reaches the Starostambulske.  At this point, the adjacent Romanian territory is an "economic zone," as can be confirmed by peering closely at Map: Zone Strict Protejate-2 above, and at which time the offending boat's distance to the nearest Letea Forest flora and fauna will be something like 8 km (5 miles), a distance indicated in Map: Letea Forest above by the thick red line.  Not a great deal to be alarmed about so far.

    As the offending boat travels upward along the Starostambulske, it does approach the truncated apex of the Letea Forest triangle.  However, the Letea Forest will still be buffered from the offending boat by the noise and the pollution of the Periprava-Sfistofca road, by the occasional cluster of Romanian dwellings, and by several km distance, though shrinking from the original eight.  And even at the very tip of the truncated triangle, where the Letea Forest almost meets the Kilia, the Romanian town of Periprava offers itself as a buffer protecting the Letea Forest from the offending boat.  Talk of "buffers" does not assume that pelicans or oak trees prefer roads and towns to boats, but only identifies as a buffer anything, however noxious or obnoxious, that prevents some more distant object from exerting an effect.

    One might conclude that if human activity is going to harm Kernzone Letea, it is more likely to come from the Romanian villages which border it, and from the Romanian roads that encompass it, and from the Romanian-hosted tourists who barbecue and have paintball competitions on it, than from boats passing kilometers away at a frenetic rate expected by the Bystre business plan to exceed one boat every twelve hours, and which is sometimes projected as high as almost one boat every four hours (www.nfi.at/~, p. 6).

    In any case, once past the Ochakivske, the offending boat has already entered the Kilia which no one — not even Leo Platvoet, not even the BBC, not even the Romanian government — contests Ukraine's right to travel.  In fact, some of the alternative routes urged upon Ukraine by Romania and its supporters would bring traffic down the Ochakivske, and which traffic would then pass Periprava in exactly the same way as the offending Bystre boat just did.  How close the offending Bystre boat comes to the truncated apex of the Letea triangle, then, is irrelevant.  The only relevant consideration is how close the boat comes to the Letea triangle before the boat enters the Kilia, and that closest distance can be seen to be around 4 km (2.5 miles).

    ZONE #1. ROSCA-BUHAIOVA.  The Romanian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR) Strictly Protected Zone #1 Rosca-Buhaiova can be seen to be separated from the Kilia by the Romanian islands of Babina and Cernovca.  Labels in boxes, and direction of flow arrows, have been added.  Adapted from Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA), Rosca-Buhaiova, at  www.ddbra.ro/~

    Now on to the second Ukrainian threat proposed in the above quote — the threat to the Rosca-Buhaiova Kernzone, which lies just west of the Letea Forest, "home to the largest colony of pelicans in Europe."  Here one immediately notes that Kilia traffic is kept from affecting Kernzone Rosca-Buhaiova by the buffer of two large Romanian islands, Babina and Cernovka (reading from left to right), as can be seen in the map to the right, and in the three maps immediately below:

    Curiously, other maps place Cernovka on the left and Babina on the right:

    The last map linked just above finally, though only implicitly, explains by means of parenthesized alternatives that although Cernovka-Babina is considered by some to be officially correct, Babina-Cernovka is nevertheless a recognized variation.

    In any case, these two islands impose a distance between Kilia shipping and the nearest edge of Kernzone Rosca-Buhaiova of something like 4 km (2.5 miles).  The distance between the offending ship and the pelicans themselves could be anything: 5 km or 10 km — the pelicans possibly preferring the lakes within Rosca-Buhaiova, and these can be seen to cluster toward the south and therefore away from the Kilia.  And in any case again, we are talking here about boat traffic on the Kilia, which no one objects to.  The nearest that Starostambulske traffic comes to an edge of the Rosca-Buhaiova is approximately 6 km (3.7 miles).

    That seagoing ships (which are smaller than oceangoing ships) passing kilometers away from a bird nesting area can be counted on to produce an adverse impact worthy of international alarm falls short of credibility.  What is to be expected is that although animals and birds may become discomposed at the first appearance of any unfamiliar object, like a ship, they adapt rapidly, and soon go about their business unperturbed, quite happy to nest not only kilometers away from a shipping channel, but even overlooking the channel.

    With respect to either of the two Kernzonen under discussion, then, the Romanian hysteria seems unjustified.  The oak trees in the Letea Forest seem under no threat.  The pelican colony in the Rosca-Buhaiova seems safe.

    It might be added that the following reference to the Delta's pelicans invites the conclusion that their deadliest enemies are the humans who live alongside them:

    They are also the ultimate fishers, each eating over 1,000 fish during their six-month stay.  Pelicans were once the scourge of Danube fishermen who killed them for stealing the catch.


    That is, if the human inhabitants of the Delta derive their income mainly from fishing, then they must continue to view pelicans as their leading competitors, and can be expected to continue killing at least enough pelicans that they don't consume all the fish.  And some people might kill pelicans in order to eat them (although the following statement is made with reference to Ukrainians living near the Bystre, it might apply all the more to the Romanians living in the vicinity of the pelican colony in the Rosca-Buhaiova Reserve):

    According to Petro Cealii, [the "Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador" of Ukraine in Moldova] the area where the Channel Bystroye is being constructed is very poorly developed from a social point of view; people are so poor that some of them eat pelicans (?!)

    DEF Bulletin: The Danube Environmental Forum Newsletter, 2/2004  www.de-forum.org/client/documents/Def%20Bulletin%202-2004.pdf   Unconventional punctuation is in the original.

    Furthermore, if human fishing in the Delta is largely poaching, then poachers too reduce the size of the pelican population by restricting the food available to the pelicans, which is to say by starving them.

    Thus, Romania would undoubtedly do more to promote the growth of its pelican colony if it stopped local fishermen from killing pelicans and from poaching fish, than if it succeeded in achieving the seemingly-irrelevant goal of moving ships through its own Sulina Canal instead of allowing them to take advantage of improved service at lower cost by switching to Ukraine's Bystre Canal.

    2.  Does The Bystre Encroach On UNESCO Strictly Protected Zones In Ukraine?

    There appear to be three Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve zones within the Ukrainian Delta that serve as something like Kernzonen, or Strictly Protected Zones:

    At present, the Danube biosphere reserve is organized as a cluster, with three nuclei, none of which was affected by the construction of the Danube-Black Sea shipping canal through the Bystre estuary.

    Dzherelo Train Ukraine, 2004-09-14 at  www.dzherelo.com.ua/en/news/10.html

    Presumably these three zones are the ones shown enclosed by dotted lines in the Map: Zapovidni Iadry below, and explicitly identified as UNESCO zones in that map's legend.  The larger variously-tinted region seems to serve as a less restricted Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, and — like its Romanian counterpart — includes towns and all manner of economic activity, and even a working canal — the shallow-draft Ust-Dunaisk East.  The restrictions appertaining to this outer and larger Ukrainian Biosphere Reserve, then, are too relaxed to be capable of stopping the Bystre.  It is the three small UNESCO zones that seem to serve as Ukrainian Kernzonen that could have some relevance.

    What the three maps below suggest, however, is that Ukraine has followed the Romanian precedent — it has kept its Kernzonen to a minimum, and it has kept them from straddling significant channels, and indeed from straddling any channels, whether holding out promise of immediately accomodating shipping or not.

    Map: Zapovidni Iadry-1.  The UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve zone credited to Ukraine can be seen to consist of three small areas enclosed in dotted lines, none of them near the Bystre Channel, which has been marked with the letter "B" inside a white arrow.  Original jpg version of the map is at the Ukrainian Embassy in Austria web site at www.ukremb.at/aktuell/images/map3_big.jpg, PDF version available both here and where originally published at www.ukremb.at/aktuell/images/map3_big.pdf

    Map: Zapovidni Iadry-2.  Detail from the MOSAIC: UKRAINIAN DANUBE DELTA, with yellow labels and dotted boundary added, shows an enlargement of the northern portion of the UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine that was presented in Map Zapovidni Iadry-1.  Waterways that have actual — or even the slightest potential — use as traffic corridors can be seen to have been excluded from the UNESCO Reserve — namely, the Ochakivske to its north, and a lesser unnamed channel to its west.

    Map: Zapovidni Iadry-3.  Detail from the MOSAIC: UKRAINIAN DANUBE DELTA, with yellow labels and dotted boundaries added, shows an enlargement of the southern portion of the UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine that was presented in Map Zapovidni Iadry-1.  Waterways that have actual — or even the slightest potential — use as traffic arteries can be seen to have been explicitly excluded from the UNESCO Reserve — namely, the Starostambulske, Zavodnynske, Tsyhanka, Lebedynka, and Musura.  There is no conceivable reason for splitting this particular region into two reserve zones, where there could have been one, other than to exempt the Zavodnynske and the Tsyhanka from any inhibition of traffic that would result from their falling under UNESCO protection.  That the drawing shows no egress from the Starostambulske except across a band of UNESCO Reserve lying out in the Black Sea can only be an error — it being inconceivable that Ukraine would take care to keep so many lesser channels open to traffic while leaving the mighty Starostambulske blocked at its mouth.  Romanian territory is marked by a colored line to the east of the Starostambulske at the top of the map, and then to the east of the Musura lower down.  At the top and bottom of the Musura, the national boundary is marked by a dash-dot line.

    3.  Did Ukraine Amend Its Kernzonen?

    Perhaps Ukraine did amend its Kernzonen:

    Noting with concern that the limits of the strictly protected core zone of the protected area have been modified to exclude the Bystre estuary so that the proposed development could legally proceed.

    Hervé Lethier, Possible New File: Shipping canal in the Bystre estuary, Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 31-Aug-2004, p. 14  www.nfi.at/deutsch/pdf/donaudelta.pdf

    Specifically, one may guess that there used to exist just one big Kernzone-equivalent which perhaps blocked all Ukrainian access to the Black Sea through any channel below the Ochakivske — the giant Kernzone delineated by the dotted line in

    However, amending one's Kernzonen appears to be no great sin — at least not when Romania does it.  Thus, Map: Romanian Delta Dunarii shows Kernzonen similar to the 18 discussed above, and yet with Kernzonen 4, 7, 8, and 18 missing.  Perhaps going back even farther in time, Map: Romanian Donaudelta shows not 18 Kernzonen, but only 6, which should not lead to the conclusion that this is an early map and that time leads to an expansion of the total Kernzone area, as many of the subsequently-added Kernzonen are very small, and the just-cited six Kernzonen in Map: Romanian Donaudelta included the large Kernzone Schifabbau which has since been withdrawn, possibly as a result of Romanian recognition that this generous swath of territory, starting near Tulcea, was most likely to be wanted for economic activity and development.  In place of the grand Schifabbau, Romania has substituted near Tulcea the niggardly Kernzone 4, Nebunu.  And so when Romania's Kernzonen are permitted to shift over time, as this trail of maps testifies, who can defend holding Ukraine to a standard of immutability?

    What perhaps this argument will boil down to is whether UNESCO or any other agency wishes to attempt to bind a nation to some committment which that nation may have made hurriedly and provisionally and tentatively, perhaps while beset by shysters working for that nation's competitors, or whether UNESCO wants agreements whose full implications all parties have had time to understand before signing, and which distribute the burden of environmental protection equitably, and which have in mind not the stifling of economic competition but the preservation of the environment.

    4.  Is It That Simple?

    The above discussion dealt with only the prominent issue of whether the Bystre will encroach on a UNESCO Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Strictly Protected Zone.  However, the question of the legality of a Bystre expansion is quite a bit more complicated.  A comprehensive evaluation of legality might need to take into account the large number of different categories of protected zone that exists within Romania, within Ukraine, and internationally, each of them carrying different rights and obligations.

    For example, a listing of 20 "Nature conservation designation types in Romania" can be found at
    www.coe.int/~.  These 20 types might need to be reconciled with the listing of 8 broad categories of "Protected Areas in Romania, according to IUCN norms," one of them divided into 7 sub-categories at enrin.grida.no/~.   At www.greencrossitalia.it/~ are listed five institutions "responsible for the policy and strategy of the water sector" and six pieces of "environmental legislation" relating to water, followed by a list of nine of "the most expensive directives (regarding the implementation of their provisions)," meaning the provisions of "the National Plan for Approximation of the National Legislation with the EU Acquis (draft in March 2000, finalised in May 2001)."

    Within Ukraine, similarly, one can find six categories (although two look the same) in the "List of protected areas" at www.unep-wcmc.org/~, which to access one must first select "Ukraine" and check "List of Protected Areas," then click the "Submit" button.  And this list of six may need to be reconciled with the list of seven categories under the heading "Structure of Natural Reserves in Ukraine" at enrin.grida.no/~

    And on top of that there are eleven international agreements, conventions, and treaties that are listed as "strongly relevant" to the Bystre Project in the pdf document at www.nfi.at/~ .

    A comprehensive determination of the legality of the Bystre Project, then, would require weighing the implications of the mountain of documents above, which is beyond the scope of the instant essay.  However, a small number of pertinent conclusions concerning legality might nevertheless be justified in advance of an evaluation of the import of that mountain.

    One conclusion is that journalists making imprecise reference to Ukraine's being in default of some obligation or other are probably bluffing.  Such a conclusion requires more study than most journalists have time for.  Unless their stories cite a specific document and the clause that they are relying on, and a quotation of that clause, their pronouncements must be considered too vague to take seriously.  Into this category would fall the statement encountered in the introductory BBC story at the top of the instant essay: "the delta is under Unesco protection as a biosphere reserve."  But exactly what part of the delta is a question of critical importance, and that part can be specified adequately only by means of a map of higher resolution and accuracy than the BBC tends to publish.  And who defined that part of the delta, and who agrees with that definition, and which of the several categories of UNESCO protection is intended, and what "protection" does UNESCO offer, and how does UNESCO enforce its "protection," and has UNESCO ever attempted to enforce its "protection," and how many countries in recent years have with impunity ignored UNESCO attempts to impose "protection," and so on?

    Furthermore, three elementary considerations make it unlikely that the above mountain of laws and agreements and conventions and treaties will be capable of stopping the Bystre Project:

    1. Vagueness.  The documents tend to demand of the parties not specific results, but only the appearance of effort to achieve vague results, as by use of such wording as "the parties must strive to conserve the habitats," or "the parties shall endeavor to give special protection to those wetlands."  Obviously, any party is able to plead that it satisfies its committment by striving and by endeavoring, however short it may fall of achieving.  These documents attempt to point the parties in the right direction, but leave unspecified exactly what concrete results are expected and what will constitute a violation.  This is one reason for doubting that Ukraine can be found to be in violation of any of them.

    2. Loopholes.  The agreements typically include understandable and justifiable loopholes, such as that parties may make exceptions to the provisions based on "the interests of public health and safety, air safety or other overriding public interests."  It will surely be within Ukraine's competence to demonstrate that it is an "overriding public interest" to restore Odessa Oblast citizens to employment by breaking a Romanian monopoly and restoring historical shipping, and that it is an "overriding public interest" to not extend hardship by awaiting the resolution of frivolous and meritless objections offered by a neighbor who has won renown for mendacity and for sweeping all European records in the heavyweight division of the Your-Danube-Is-My-Sewer competition.  The loopholes are large and they are plentiful, and Ukraine is fully within its rights to walk through them, as for example this barn-door sized loophole offered by Ramsar:

      The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) obliges Contracting Parties to "designate suitable wetlands within [their] territories for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance" (Article 2.1).  "The inclusion of a wetland in the List does not prejudice the exclusive sovereign rights of the Contracting Party in whose territory the wetland is situated." (Article 2.3).  "Any Contracting Party shall have the right because of its urgent national interests, to delete or restrict the boundaries of wetlands already included by it in the List " (Article 2.5).

      Ramsar Advisory Missions: No. 53, Ukraine, Kyliiske Mouth (2003)  www.ramsar.org/ram_rpt_53e.htm
    3. Precedent.  It does not matter how many laws and agreements and treaties are cited in an attempt to delay the arrival of Ukrainian competition — if all of them together have never succeeded in inflicting on any country a certain damaging effect, then Ukraine can be expected to refuse to be the first to play the role of victim.  As none of the other nine countries on the Danube has ever foregone as great an advantage as Ukraine will derive from the development of the Bystre, and certainly never foregone it in order to avoid an environmental harm as trivial, then Ukraine should not be asked to either.  In fact, as will be documented below, every one of the countries on the Danube except Ukraine has exploited the Danube recklessly in the course of winning prosperity for its citizens, and Ukraine will not agree to impoverish its citizens by offering them up as a sacrifice in expiation of Europe's environmental sins.  Let any who would block Ukraine start by testifying that the sacrifices Ukraine is being asked to make are only the same sacrifices that they themselves have made and intend to continue making, and not unique sacrifices that none has made before, and that none will make in the future.  No country can be expected to comply with words on paper that are unsupported by precedent.

    What must be recognized is that this is an area in which iron-clad agreements are not to be expected.  No country will sign an iron-clad agreement allowing foreign institutions to block its economic development.  Nations will sign such agreements only if they are vaguely worded and include escape clauses.  Anyone who imagines that such documents can be used to force a nation to abandon its economic interests for the purpose of favoring a competitor is mistaken.  The Ukrainian government's first obligation is to put bread on the table of its citizens, and it will take advantage of vagueness and escape clauses to do so, just as every other country on earth has a right to do and does.  The vagueness and escape clauses are not accidental — they are integral to the documents because all demand that they be included, and because all intend to take advantage of them themselves.

    There are some things that then President Leonid Kuchma, and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and Transport Minister Heorhiy Kyrpa did right — and one of them was to move ahead on the Bystre Canal project without waiting for the hecklers and the kibitzers to fall silent.

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1.  Romanian Arrogance Calls For Explanation

    Romanian leadership does not restrict itself to its crude disinformation campaign — it also demonstrates a readiness to engage in provocative and dangerous confrontation, as for example in the three instances below:

    Romania hinders free passage of the "Volga"


    On October 14, 2004 the Ambassador of Romania in Ukraine Alexander Kornea was invited to the Ministry for Foreign affairs of Ukraine (MFA), where he has been informed about Ukrainian side's reaction on the recent illegal actions of official Romanian authorities in border-line waters of the river Danube.

    It has been stressed, that at 10 o'clock 14 minutes on October, 9 this year the Romanian border service ship "Frontiera", rudely violating provisions of Article 9 of the Agreement between Ukraine and Romania on the regime of Ukrainian-Romanian state border, co-operation and mutual assistance in border matters of June 17, 2003, was intentionally hindering the free passage of Ukrainian passenger motor ship "Volga" by the main navigation waterway of the river Danube.  The aforementioned Romanian border service ship intentionally got up on an anchor at the 37th kilometer of the boundary river Danube in the course of motion of Ukrainian passenger motor ship "Volga" in the middle of main navigation waterway and consciously avoided establishment radio contact with the passenger motor ship "Volga" and with the Center of traffic regulation in Vilkovo.

    Such actions of Romanian border guards resulted in creation of the emergency situation and forced the captain of the motor ship "Volga" to change a course and pass outside the main navigation waterway of the river Danube, which threatened the safety not only of the motor ship itself, but also lifes of passengers, mainly citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, and members of motor ship crew.

    Excerpt from a longer report at Ukraine-European Union  www.ukraine-eu.mfa.gov.ua/cgi-bin/valmenu_miss.sh?1p01030075.html

    Romania harasses the "Yevhenii Korobochka"

    The Ukrainian Transport and Communications Ministry is proposing that the Foreign Affairs Ministry protest to Romania in connection with the provocations on the Ukrainian-Romanian border in River Danube, which involve Romania's obstruction of the operations of a Ukrainian dredging ship that is cleaning the Danube's waterway.  [...]

    According to the draft note, Romanian border boats obstructed the movement of the Ukrainian special vessel, Yevhenii Korobochka, on September 16 while the vessel was clearing the waterway of silt about 37.8 kilometers inside the River Danube.  According to the draft note, the Romanian border boat crossed the path of the vessel at a dangerous distance, thus creating a situation that could have resulted in an accident.

    Transport and Communications Ministry Asking Foreign Ministry to Protest to Romania, Ukrainian News, UkraineNow, 21-Sep-2004  www.ukrnow.com/~

    Romania moves navigational markers

    As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry accused Romania on Thursday of unsanctioned shift of the navigation buoy that marked the safe shipping waterway on the River Danube.

    Transport and Communications Ministry Asking Foreign Ministry to Protest to Romania, Ukrainian News, UkraineNow, 21-Sep-2004  www.ukrnow.com/~

    Romanian leadership going so far as to order military units to harrass Ukrainian tourist and dredging vessels, and to shift navigational buoys, might be explained by four causes, of which concern for the environment is not one.

    2.  Romania Is Not Motivated To Protect The Environment

    Romania does not want to keep shipping out of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve so as to protect the environment it wants to keep shipping out of the Ukrainian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve so that it can collect tolls for that same shipping within the Romanian Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.  Using the Romanian Sulina and George Canals for shipping is worse for the delta biosphere because they are its primary providers of nutrients.  Every ship that switches from using the two nutrient-supplying Romanian channels to the non-nutrient-supplying Kilia channel benefits the delta ecosystem.

    If Romania cared about the environment, it would not today be the Danube River's worst polluter, it would not have a fleet of dredgers at work to keep its network of shipping and boating canals open, it would not be turning the George Channel into the George Canal, it would not be looking for a way to fill the empty Caraorman and the Sfintu Gheorge apartment buildings with workers, it would not be building tourist resorts within the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, it would not be diverting water from the Ukrainian Delta to Romanian shipping canals, it would not have mounted an advertising blitzkrieg to attract tourists to the Delta.

    It is unfortunately the case that whenever one country demands that another country improve its ecological performance, the best bet is that it does so to advance its own political and economic interests, and that its indifference to the environment can be read in its own ecological record.  For example, when Russia objects to Ukraine's Bystre Canal, its aim is to keep Ukraine weak and poor so as to facilitate Russian domination, even as Russia demonstrates its contempt for the environment, as by destroying its own Amur River Basin:

    The white-naped crane is one of four rare species of crane which rely on the wilderness of eastern Siberia.

    The cranes of Asia are facing extinction amid Russia's economic anarchy, as multinational corporations and local entrepreneurs plunder the natural resources of Siberia's Amur Basin.  [...]

    But in recent years, with the easing of hostilities, the ecology of the entire basin has become threatened by precipitate development, not only by Russians and Chinese but by multinational timber and mining interests seeking to loot eastern Siberia; unfortunately, the verb is not too strong.  In these times, Russia is too fragmented and chaotic to protect its resources, not only from ruthless corporations but from its own entrepreneurs.  Local officials, politicians, private citizens, and even the military, all seeking shelter from the myriad uncertainties, are selling off every asset that is not nailed down.  [...]

    Many of the Russian reserves as I learned to my surprise were created seventy years ago, in the days of Lenin, and have been closely protected ever since, even from the public.  But in this dark time of economic anarchy the regional governments are selling off mineral and timber leases, oil and gas exploration and development and even hunting and fishing rights, with little or no regard for the concept of sustainable development, let alone wildlife or wilderness preservation.  There is even a rumor of negotiations with the Japanese for concession rights to the crystal water of Lake Baikal.  [...]

    Peter Matthiessen, The Last Cranes of Siberia, The New Yorker, 03-May-1993, pp. 76-86, pp. 76-77.

    3.  Romania Is Motivated To Preserve Its Monopoly

    Romania has long held a monopoly on Danube to Black Sea shipping, but is suddenly confronted by a vigorous competitor who proposes to offer a better service at a lower price, and who therefore threatens Romania with a substantial loss of revenue and prestige.  The underlying cause of Romania's predicament, as has already been noted above, is that Ukraine and not Romania controls the arm of the Danube best suited for shipping — the Kilia — because all exits from the Kilia to the Black Sea pass through some Ukrainian territory, and none passes through Romanian territory.  If Romania owned the Dragon's Beard, then Ukrainian and Romanian authority over the Kilia would be equivalent, the two nations simply sharing opposite banks throughout the length of the Kilia-Starostambulske route.  However, such is not the case, and in fact Ukraine dominates the Kilia, and for Romania to retain its monopoly, or at least to slow the rate of loss of its monopoly, it finds the option of sharpening its competitive edge inadequate, and so resorts to disseminating disinformation and to bullying.

    4.  Romania Is Motivated To Acquire Ukrainian Oil And Gas

    Snake Island, (variously called Serpent Island, Serpents Island, Serpent's Island, O. Zmeinyy or Ostriv Zmeinyy, Zmiyinyy Ostrov, Zmiyinyy Island) is a 17-hectare (42-acre) island 45 km east of the Dragon's Beard, the only island in the Black Sea that is not close to the mainland shore.  Although Romanian aspiration to join the European Union has forced it to abandon its claim to owning Snake Island, Romania continues to dispute Ukraine's control over the oil and gas reserves that Ukraine has discovered in the island's vicinity:

    Ukraine and Romania Fight Over Oil-Rich Seas

    The Black Sea — oil under top left red.
    If preliminary estimates are correct, there might be as much as ten million tons of high-quality oil and even more natural gas underneath the continental shelf of the Black Sea, worth billions of dollars.  Incidentally, the oil field lays right underneath the unclear Romanian-Ukrainian borderline, around a small rocky outcrop off the Danube delta, called Serpent Island.

    "The matter will be judged only on whether that piece of land above the sea level is a rock or an island; and that will make a huge difference on the map," one senior Romanian diplomat said in an interview with TOL's correspondent.  Ukrainians claim it's an island, and deserves its own coastal waters, but Romania says it's just a rock, and has no such international legal status.

    Since 'coastal waters' also means a 230-mile strip of exclusive economic rights, that area is huge even though the island itself is just over a mile (1,7 kilometers) around.  At more than 5,000 square miles, or a third of the size of the Netherlands, the difference in opinion is enough for the two countries to contemplate taking the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

    A copy of the complete article from which the above excerpt is taken is available on ukar.org at  APPENDIX: Ukraine and Romania Fight Over Oil-Rich Seas and as well at the original place of publication at  manila.djh.dk/~.  The location of Snake Island can be seen at  MAP: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (look for "O. Zmeinyy" standing for "Ostriv Smeinyy" where "Ostriv" means "Island") and at  MAP: SOIL TYPES.

    Two clarifications of the above.  First, the discovery of oil and gas was made by Ukraine alone, without Romanian participation:

    Additional oil and gas have recently been discovered in the Black Sea, but the find is claimed by Ukraine.  Romania disputes the claim.  In July 2001, the British firm JKX Oil and Gas announced it had found 73 million barrels of oil and 353 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas.  Their find was done in partnership with Cernomorneftegaz Company of Ukraine.  The area in dispute is called Zmiyinyy Island by Ukraine. It is called Insula Serpilor (Serpents' Island) by Romania. Romania is already producing oil in the area west of the island and sending it to the port of Constanta via pipeline.  It is not clear how this dispute will be resolved.

    U.S. Department of Energy www.fe.doe.gov/international/CentralEastern%20Europe/romnover.html

    The second clarification consists of reviewing the strong reasons for viewing Snake Island as an island and not as a mere rock.  There is, in the first place, its size: 17 hectares (42 acres).  There is the use to which it has been put for approximately 67 years it has served as an important base of first Soviet, and later Ukrainian, air and maritime traffic control:

    In time, the island acquired an increased strategic and military importance.  After the USSR had occupied it in 1948, an impressive military base was established to control the maritime and air traffic and to serve as an air defense.  Ukraine currently owns the whole complex and the radio detection and ranging stations located on the island carry out air and maritime surveys on an extensive area.  The air control covers the whole area of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean as far as the coast of Libya.  The results of this surveillance activity are concentrated in a center of operations.  It is here that the data regarding the intercontinental nuclear activity on the territory of Ukraine is collected.  Radio jamming stations as well as cable and audio-communications monitoring facilities are also located on the island.  A military garrison deployed here has several independent sub-units for the operation of the heliport, the military port, the early-warning radar, the warehouses, the power plants, the lighthouse and to secure the defense of Ukraines border.  A frigate, a patrol ship and one or two submarines provide the protection of the military base located on the island.

    Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu, "Serpents' Island Between Rule of Law and Rule of Force," 06-Oct-1999  www.tomrad.ro/iserpi/ENGLISH.HTM

    The island is too distant in available aerial photographs to reveal its infrastructure, though the photograph of its lighthouse does begin to:

    BBC Romanania [article in Romanian]  www.bbc.co.uk/~ Korrespondent [article in Russian]  www.korrespondent.net/~

    Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society at arlhs.com/~.  The above photograph is stored at w8tts.ak8b.us/~

    One may add that Snake Island was called Leuce Island (White Island, probably because of its white marble formations) in ancient Greek myths and legends, and served as the base of an Achilles cult on the story that Thetis brought the remains of Achilles there.  The island hosts several ruins, among them a temple thought to be dedicated to Achilles discovered in 1823, its square foundation having sides measuring 30 meters.  This ancient use of Snake Island further supports the propriety of calling it an island and not a mere rock:

    Leuke and Dilmun: Myth and Reality This paper first of all notes the correspondences between Leuke in Greek mythology and Dilmun of Mesopotamian mythology.  Leuke, or White Island, was the afterlife location for Achilles, as specified by the Epic Cycle poem the Aethiopis and later Greek and Roman literature.  Dilmun was said to be the home of the immortalized survivor of a universal flood in Mesopotamian mythology.  It was also visited by the great epic hero Gilgamesh in his travels.  As such both islands were the place where notable figures from the heroic past lived their afterlife.

    After establishing these parallels, the paper will proceed to note that both were identified as real places.  Leuke was the name of the only Black Sea island that is far offshore, modern Fidonisi (Greek)/Zmeinyy (Russian).  This island was the central focus of a hero cult for Achilles that flourished in the northern Black Sea from the Archaic Age down through the Roman period.  Dedicatory inscriptions and temple remains indicate that worshippers actually visited the island to carry out ritual in honor of the hero.

    University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences Computing ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~.  Snake Island happens to be 45 km due east of the Dragon's Beard.

    RFE/RL at
    APPENDIX: RFE/RL DISCUSSES SNAKE ISLAND (or at its place of original publication at www.rferl.org/~) may be worth reading for further detail, despite its preference for the Russian "Bystraya" instead of the Ukrainian "Bystre," and despite its placing Snake Island due east of the Romanian port of Sulina instead of, more accurately, due east of the Ukrainain Dragon's Beard, and despite its fantastic proposition that Ukraine is developing the Bystre Canal for the sole purpose of being able to offer Romania abandonment of that project in return for Romanian abandonment of its claim to Ukrainian oil and gas in the vicinity of Snake Island a fanatastic proposition in view of Ukraine's clear right to both develop the Bystre Canal and own the resources in the vicinity of Snake Island both without having to offer Romania any bribe.  As with most coverage of the Bystre Canal, this RFE/RL report takes a position so contrary to Ukraine's interests that it could have been written by the Greater Romania party, Romania Mare.  The RFE/RL proposition is quite as fantastic as Romania's invitation to Ukraine (as reported by Romanian irredentist Aurelian Teodorescu) to simply hand over the Dragon's Beard to Romania gratis, as has already been quoted further above, and whose revelation of Romanian arrogance prompts its being repeated here:

    The Romanian delegation proposed that the document should provide, among other things, that the borderline along the Chilia Channel will follow strictly the middle of the navigable waterway as far as the point of entry into the sea.

    Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu, "Serpents' Island Between Rule of Law and Rule of Force," 06-Oct-1999  www.tomrad.ro/iserpi/ENGLISH.HTM

    It is perhaps in part because of this undersea oil and gas that Romania wishes to push Ukrainian maritime activity as far north as possible, and why Ukraine, in its turn, prefers to develop the more southerly of the available passages through its Delta.  Every ship that passes through a southerly Ukrainian canal solidifies Ukrainian jurisdiction over its southern territories, including approaches which maritime vessels follow out in the Black Sea.

    If confirming ownership of Snake Island resources plays a role in Ukrainian motivation to develop a southerly canal when more northerly options exist, then it must be acknowledged that Ukraine acting upon such motivation is not only a proper exercise of its rights, but also a commendable expression of its prudence and foresight.

    5.  Romania Is Motivated By Irredentist Longing

      A.   Romanians yearn for their Greater Romania


    Understanding Romanian leadership is assisted by MAP: GREATER ROMANIA in which the red Romania Uncontested shows that part of today's Romania which over the past century has consistently stayed in Romanian hands; in which the green Romania Contested shows that part of today's Romania which over the past century has also belonged to other countries; and in which the violet Romania Irredenta shows that area which today belongs to countries other than Romania, but which over the past century has found itself under Romanian control.

    One might imagine that Romanian leadership has the good sense to recognize that this map is representative of the corresponding maps of most countries in the world — which is to say that their point of greatest expansion has passed, and whereas they might today be seized by the impulse to make territorial claims based on past ownership on others, they are restrained by the recognition that others are equally capable of making territorial claims based on past ownership on them.  Romania is particularly vulnerable to such claims against it being made by Hungary, as Romania's large western green area has been Hungarian territory in the past, and today is home to numerous Hungarians who sometimes inhabit substantial areas in which they constitute a majority.  Romania's greed for Hungarian land is demonstrated by Romania having ventured so far as to demand, at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, ownership of the area identified by horizontal stripes, which fortunately for the Hungarian nation, and more especially for the Hungarian people who live in the demanded area, Romania was not given.

    It would appear, however, that elements of the Romanian leadership are unmindful of the considerations expressed above, and long for Romania Irredenta, uninhibited by either propriety or law, feeling themselves to be the rightful owners even if the territory in question was and is inhabited predominantly by non-Romanians usually Hungarians or Ukrainians and even if Romania once seized it by bloodshed and occupied it only briefly and dedicated itself to an orgy of ethnic cleansing, and suppression of language and culture even in the face of all such considerations, some Romanians measure their self-worth by the area that their nation occupies, and refuse to accept the reduced self-worth of occupying anything less than Greater Romania.

    To the impartial observer not gripped by the same fever, however, some irredentist claims have no greater legitimacy than would have an aging bank robber demanding legal title to a bank on the ground that he had held its employees hostage, and had enjoyed absolute rule over its premises, for a few hours in his youth.  Or, better still, than would have a claimant of ownership of the bank by someone related to that hostage-taking bank robber of long ago only in belonging to the same biker gang.

    A glance at acknowledgements of Romanian irredentism can begin with Arcady Zhukovsky's 1971 reference to it as an ongoing effort:

    Rumanianization is further abetted by the current efforts of the government to secure the return of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina back to Romania.

    Arcady Zhukovsky in Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume II, University of Toronto Press, 1971, p. 1256b.

    Romanian irredentism is not limited to fringe groups, but may include mainstream Romanian leadership, as for example the Romanian Foreign Minister:

    Rejection by the extreme nationalists of any foreign policy moves that called the status of "traditional" Romanian territories into question was a matter of first principles.  [...]  The status of the contested territories and their inhabitants are highly charged issues in the Romania political context.  For extremists, such as those that support Romania Mare and the Party of Romanian National Unity, the goal of a state encompassing all "traditional" Romanian ethnic territories within its boundaries is a matter of first principle.  [...]  The significance of the issue for both sides was indicated by the fact that 1996 Ukraine had reached bilateral friendship agreements with all of its neighbors except Romania and Russia, despite the fact that all had potential territorial claims against it.  [...]  Yet complete normalization of relations with the Western powers continued to be hindered by Romanias reputation as a haven for extreme nationalism, and its failure to resolve outstanding problems with its neighbors, in particular, Hungary and Ukraine.  [...]  A low point was reached when Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu commented in the Romanian Senate that he doubted that the Island of the Serpents was in fact Ukrainian territory.  Melescanu suggested taking the issue before international bodies for deliberation.  Ukraines Foreign Ministry responded by characterising the statement as making a territorial claim against Ukraine, and announced that the Ukrainian Ambassador would be recalled for consultations.

    William Crowther, "Between Transdniestria and Serpent Island: The Evolution of Romanian Policy Toward Ukraine," University of North Carolina at Greensboro  wwics.si.edu/ees/special/2000/crowther.pdf.  Footnote numbers removed.

    Although useful for its acknowledgement of Romanian irredentism, Tony Barber writing below reveals his bias by demoting Snake Island from the status of an "island" to the status of "a rocky outcrop":

    KIEV When Ukrainians talk of threats to their security, they usually have Russia in mind.  However, one of Ukraines most intractable foreign policy problems in the post-Communist age concerns not Russia but Romania.  Apart from Russia, Romania is alone among Ukraines neighbours in not having signed an agreement on the inviolability of borders.  Territorial disputes between Romania and Ukraine have proved so vexatious in the 1990s that President Ion Iliescu has postponed making an official visit to Kiev at least five times.

    The reason lies in the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed by the foreign ministers of Stalin and Hitler in August 1939.  Under this pact, the Soviet Union annexed from Romania the territories of northern Bukovina, southern Bessarabia, Moldova and a rocky outcrop called Serpent Island in the Black Sea.  Of these four territories, three Serpent Island, northern Bukovina (known now as Chernivtsy) and a strategically important strip of Bessarabia along the Black Sea were awarded to Ukraine.  [...]

    None of this mattered much in the Communist period but, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the emergence of an independent Ukraine, nationalist Romanian politicians began to discuss publicly the prospects of recovering what were seen as "historically Romanian lands".  Officially, the Bucharest government disclaims any intention of challenging Ukraines borders, but at the same time it insists that it will not sign a friendship and co-operation treaty with Ukraine unless the Kiev government denounces the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.  Naturally enough, the Ukrainians suspect that if they make such a denunciation, they will make themselves vulnerable at some future date to a Romanian claim on Serpent Island, Chernivtsy and the strip of Black Sea coast.

    Tony Barber, "Wartime legacy troubles Ukraine's borders," 22-Apr-1996  ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Harvey_Morris/kiev.htm

    Leading Romanian irredentist Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu finds that the merit of the Romanian claim to Snake Island is based on Romanian possession of it having been lawful, whereas USSR and later Ukrainian possession having depended on force, and therefore having been and continuing to be unlawful:

    The case of the Serpents Island provides a striking example of violation of the international law by those who have ruled over or still own illegitimately this Romanian territory.  The rule of law operated as long as the island was legally placed within the frontiers of Romania as Romanian land; the rule of force applied when the island came under Turkish, Russian or Ukrainian jurisdiction.  [...]

    The current borderline is and must be considered a fact that lacks a sound and indisputable legal basis and following the disappearance of the predecessor state [the USSR], the issue of the borderline remains unresolved and needs to be settled.  By concluding a treaty which would state in a legal form what was imposed by force and had no legal basis might appear as an act ratifying the fact; this would strengthen the legal foundation that Ukraine needs in order to maintain possession of this territory.

    Ukraine can not possess something that the former USSR never owned legally.  Ukraine can not consolidate and legitimate what was taken over from the former USSR.  The conclusion of a border treaty between Romania and Ukraine under such conditions would trigger an unwelcome impact on the public, both at home and internationally, causing an adverse effect on Ukraine.  At the same time, the indefinite delay in concluding an equitable agreement might emphasize the revisionist perception usually associated with the USSR and the successor states.

    Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu, "Serpents' Island Between Rule of Law and Rule of Force," 06-Oct-1999  www.tomrad.ro/iserpi/ENGLISH.HTM.  Bold and italics were in the original.

    However, in acquiring Snake Island, the USSR did not kill a single person or drop a single bomb or fire a single shot.  It did not mass troops.  The USSR did not ethnically cleanse the island or suppress the language and culture of its inhabitants, as the island had been uninhabited and unused.  When irredentist Teodorescu talks of force, then, he conjures up images that have no counterpart in the history of the USSR acquisition of Snake Island.  What Teodorescu must mean is that the USSR appeared ready and able to use force, or in other words that the USSR intimidated Romania into relinquishing claims to the island, which is not quite the same as its having used force.  However, as at that time the island appeared to have negligible value, possibly the level of intimidation was inappreciable, and in fact immeasureable and unprovable.  And it is also possible that in return for Romania relinquishing any claims to the island, the USSR made concessions to Romania.  It may be the case, in other words, that Romania was less intimidated than rewarded.  It would not be surprising if international law looked with disapproval upon a nation attempting to abrogate a treaty or an agreement or a border adjustment on the excuse that at the time of signing almost sixty years ago it had felt coerced, as this would invite wholesale challenges by those who in retrospect thought they deserved a better deal, which in many cases might be both parties to the agreement, or all parties.

      B.   The Romanian seizure of Bukovyna in 1918

    In turn, the Teodorescu claim that Romanian occupation of irredentist lands has been based not on force but on law deserves a detailed reply, as the historical record attests to the quite opposite record of Romania habitually relying on violence to expand Greater Romania into Ukrainian territory.

    Here is a brief description of Romania's 1918 seizure of Bukovyna (whose northern half is ethnically Ukrainian) from the crumbling Austrian Empire:

    On 4 November, these leaders and their supporters formed a joint Romanian-Ukrainian provisional government, which two days later forced the Austrian officials to surrender their governing authority.  They also agreed to divide the province, so that the northern half might become part of the West Ukrainian National Republic.

    These developments bore little fruit, however, because the majority of Bukovina's Romanians had other plans.  Just two days after the Ukrainian Committee was formed, on 27 October, Romanian deputies from the Austrian parliament and Bukovinian diet joined the local political activists to establish in Chernivtsi their own national council.  Led by Iancu Flondor, the Romanian National Council opposed any division of Bukovina, expecting that the entire province would soon be 'reunited' with Romania.  When the Romanian-Ukrainian provisional government replaced the Austrians on 6 November, Flondor responded by calling on Romania to send troops.  Five days later, a Romanian force entered Chernivtsi, the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen withdrew without resistance to Galicia, and all of Bukovina was annexed to Romania.

    Robert Paul Magocsi, A History of Ukraine, University of Washington Press, 1996, p. 517.

    Orest Subtelny describes the effect of the Romanian occupation of Bukovyna in 1918, and of the Western Allies recognizing the Romanian claim to all of Bukovyna in 1920:

    The third group was the most vibrant Ukrainian community: the approximately 310,000 Ukrainians of Bukovyna.  Romanian occupation resulted in a drastic political decline for the Bukovynians.  Under Austrian rule, Bukovyna had been an autonomous province and Ukrainians, its largest national group, had relatively strong political representation in Vienna, extensive local self-government, and a well-developed system of Ukrainian-language education.  All this was lost when the Romanians annexed the region.  From being the most favored West Ukrainian community, the Bukovynians became the most oppressed.

    Romanian intolerance of its numerous minorities was even greater than that of the Poles.  After 1920, when the Western allies formally recognized the Romanian claim to all of Bukovyna, the Romanian government shut down all Ukrainian schools and even refused to recognize the Ukrainians as a distinct nationality.  The educational measures of 1924, which Romanized the schools, referred to Ukrainians as "citizens of Romanian origin who had forgotten their native language."  By 1927, all traces of Bukovyna's former autonomous administration had been removed and it was treated like any other Romanian province.

    Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History (2nd edition), University of Toronto Press, 1994, pp. 446-447.

      C.   The Khotyn uprising of 1919

    Romanian occupation of Slavic peoples has been distinguished by two noteworthy uprisings: that of Khotyn in 1919, and that of Tatarbunary in 1924.  The Encyclopedia of Ukraine outlines the Khotyn Uprising as follows:

    Khotyn Castle
    Khotyn Castle
    Khotyn uprising.  An uprising from 23 to 31 January 1919 by the Ukrainian inhabitants of Khotyn county against the Rumanian occupation of Bessarabia.  It was directed by the so-called Khotyn Directorate, whose members (chairman: M. Lyskun; secretary: L. Tokan) established friendly relations with the Directory of the UNR.  The UNR representative I. Maievsky supplied the three insurgent regiments Rukshyn, Anadoly, and Dankivtsi with arms.  The rebels captured the town of Khotyn and most of the country's villages, and expelled the Rumanian authorities from the region.  After fierce battles the Rumanian troops forced 4,000 rebels to retreat beyond the Dniester River together with about 50,000 refugees.  The Rumanian authorities subjected eight villages (Rukshyn, Nedoboivtsi, Shyrivtsi, Kerstentsi, Stavchany, Dankivtsi, Vladychna, and Ataky) to severe reprisals.  About 5,000 (15,000 according to Soviet sources) people were executed, 500 of them in Khotyn.


    • Dembo, V.  Nikogda ne zabyt.  Krovavaia letopis Bessarabii (Moscow 1924)
      Okhotnikov, J.; Batchinsky, N.  L'Insurrection de Khotine dans la Bessarabie et la paix européenne (Paris 1927)
    • Heroïchna Khotynshchyna.  Materialy naukovoï sesiï, prysviachenoï 50-richchiu Khotyns'koho povstannia (Lviv 1972)
    • Khotinskoe vosstanie: Sbornik dokumentov i materialov (Kishinev 1976)
    A. Zhukovsky

    The Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume II, p. 493.  Image added.

      D.   The Tatarbunary uprising of 1924

    The Encyclopedia of Ukraine outlines the Tatarbunary Uprising of 1924 as follows:

    Participants in the Tatarbunary uprising (photographed in the Kishinev prison)

    Monument to the Tatarbunary Rebels  www.photoukraine.com/english/photos/region/16/
    Tatarbunary uprising of 1924.  A peasant uprising against the Rumanian occupation and for unification with the Ukrainian SSR which took place in Tatarbunary and in the neighboring towns of Bassarabia.  It was the result of widespread dissatisfaction with the Rumanian agrarian reforms of 1921.  A famine, a drought in 1924, and social and national discrimination against the Bessarabian population were also contributing factors.  Nearly 4,000 peasants (Soviet sources claim 6,000) participated.  The uprising was centered in Tatarbunary and was joined by residents of Akkerman, Bendery, Izmail, and Cahul counties.  It began on 16 September 1924, led by a pro-Soviet revolutionary committee.  After a three-day battle with Rumanian troops, artillery, and naval forces (on Lake Sasyk, near the Black Sea) the uprising was suppressed.  Many of the rebels perished, and nearly 500 were arrested.  The subsequent trial in Kishinev (1925) lasted 103 days, during which 386 of the accused were tried, of whom 86 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 1 to 15 years.  The trial drew international attention to Bessarabia and its colonial status.  L. Aragon, H. Barbusse, T. Dreiser, A. Einstein, P. Éluard, R. Rolland, M. Sadoveanu and G.B. Shaw spoke out in defense of the Tatarbunary rebels.


    • Badulesku, A. Vosstanie v Tatarbunarakh (Moscow 1925)
    • Salomon, R. 'Le procè monstre de Kichinev: L'affaire de Tatar-Bunar,' La Bessarabie et la Paix Européenne (Paris 1927)
    • Smishko, P.  Tatarbunars'ke povstannia 1924 r.  (Kiev 1956)
    A. Zhukovsky

    Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume V, pp. 170-171.  Color photograph of monument added.

      E.   How Romania acquired Transnistria in 1941

    Moving ahead to WWII, it might be recalled that it was not Germany alone that invaded Ukraine in 1941, but Germany together with Romania:

    Not all Soviet Ukrainian territory came under German rule.  The Romanians, who joined Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, immediately reacquired northern Bukovina and all of Bessarabia, which they had ruled during the inter-war years but lost to the Soviets in 1940.  By an agreement signed with Germany at Tighina on 30 August 1941, Romania also acquired the region known as Transnistria, located between the Dniester and Southern Buh Rivers.  This included the large Black Sea port of Odessa, which did not fall to Romanian forces until mid-October, and only after the invaders had suffered losses of up to 70,000 dead and wounded.  Although not annexed to Romania, Transnistria functioned as a self-governing province under the authority of the country's wartime head of state, Marshal Ion Antonescu.  The local administration was headed by a civil governor, Gheorghe Alexianu, whose administrative residence was the town of Tiraspol.

    The new administration viewed the local Romanian inhabitants, who represented only about 10 percent of the 2.3 million inhabitants of Transnistria, as the vanguard of a Great Romania beyond the Dniester River.  In an effort to enhance the Romanian character of the region, new Romanian-language elementary and secondary schools were opened, a Romanian Scientific Institute was created to coordinate all forms of cultural activity, and a Romanian Orthodox Mission was established to coordinate the work of 250 missionary priests from other parts of Romania, who together with a nearly equal number of local priests tried to serve the 700 churches and chapels that used Romanian in their liturgies.  These romanianization efforts continued throughout the war, until the arrival of the Red Army in 1944.

    Robert Paul Magocsi, A History of Ukraine, University of Washington Press, 1996, pp. 624-625.

    The Romanian treatment of Ukraine's Jews is a blot on the Romanian record.  Here is a brief mention by Bartleby concerning Odessa:

    Despite a heroic defense during World War II, the city fell to German and Romanian forces in Oct., 1941.  It was under Romanian administration as the capital of Transnistra until its liberation (Apr., 1944) by the Soviet Army.  Many buildings were ruined, and approximately 280,000 civilians (mostly Jews) were reportedly massacred or deported during the Axis powers' occupation.

    Bartleby www.bartleby.com/65/od/OdessUkr.html

    And here is a brief mention by Magocsi:

    According to an agreement between Germany and Romania, perhaps as many as 100,000 Jews were deported between 1941 and 1943 from Bukovina and Bessarabia to Transnistria, where they were held in concentration camps for use as forced labor.  Thousands died as a result of the deplorable conditions in the camps or other scattered atrocities, such as the killing of 26,000 Jews when the Romanians captured Odessa from the Soviets in October 1941.

    Robert Paul Magocsi, A History of Ukraine, University of Washington Press, 1996, p. 632.

    And here are more detailed allegations from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM):


    After the occupation of Odessa, Ukrainian Jews wait to register.  Odessa, Soviet Union, October 22, 1941.
    Saechsische Landesbibliothek

    A Black Sea port in the southwestern Ukraine, Odessa had a population of nearly 600,000 in 1939.  Roughly 180,000 were Jews, about 30 percent of the total.  On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies, including Romania, invaded the Soviet Union.  In August 1941, Romanian troops set siege to Odessa.  The city surrendered on October 16, 1941.  At least half of the city's Jewish population had fled Odessa before Axis troops surrounded the city.  Between 80,000 and 90,000 Jews remained in Odessa after the Romanian occupation.

    Odessa became the administrative seat of Transnistria (the area of the Ukraine between the Bug and Dniester Rivers which was under Romanian control between 1941 and 1944).  On October 22, 1941, a bomb exploded in Romanian military headquarters in Odessa.  The blast killed 67 people, including the Romanian military commandant, 16 other Romanian officers, and four German naval officers.

    Using the incident as an excuse, Romanian army units assembled 19,000 Jews in a public square in the harbor area and shot many of them.  They doused others with gasoline and burned them alive.  At least 20,000 other Jews were assembled at the local jail and then taken to the village of Dalnik.  There, the Romanians shot some of the Jews and locked others into warehouses that they then set ablaze.  Romanian troops shot and killed any Jews trying to escape the fire.

    German administration of eastern Europe, 1942

    In November 1941, the Romanian authorities ordered the remaining 35,000 Jews in Odessa into two ghettos, Dalnik and Slobodka, established on the edge of the city.  Many died of exposure, disease, and starvation over the next three months.  In January and February 1942, Romanian police and military personnel deported the surviving 19,295 Jews from the Odessa ghettos to Romanian-administered camps and ghettos in the Berezovka region in Transnistria, including Bogdanovka, Domanevka, and Akhmetchetka.  During 1943, SS detachments made up of local ethnic Germans murdered the remaining Odessa Jews, along with other Jews deported to the camps in Berezovka from elsewhere in Transnistria.

    The Soviet army liberated Odessa in April 1944.

    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005476  A white arrow has been added to show the approximate location of the Bystre Channel, and to reveal graphically just how far beyond the Bystre Romania's territorial ambitions have dared to extend, and what a large incursion of Greater Romania into Slavic lands some Romanians may dream of repeating the large incursion right up to the Boh River which corresponds to the violet area toward the north-east in MAP: GREATER ROMANIA above, or in the map library at MAP: GREATER ROMANIA.

    To sum up concerning Romanian treatment of Ukrainian Jews:

    It should also be emphasized that Romania was the only member of the Axis whose Jews were not sent to extermination camps in Poland by the Nazis.  Rather, the Romanians killed them on their own, by means of activating their armed forces and police within Romanian-controlled areas and those areas in the Ukraine that were allocated to them by Hitler.

    Yad Vashem  www1.yadvashem.org/about_yad/press_room/press_releases/romania.html

      F.   How Romania rewarded Basil Bilivsky for encouraging people to study Ukrainian

    Since 1958 Ukrainian cultural life in Rumania has been increasingly subjected to harsh pressures from the authorities.  As a result, almost all schools with Ukrainian as the language of instruction have been closed.  [...]  All Ukrainian national and cultural activity in the villages was prohibited, as was the use of Ukrainian names of localities in publications.

    To frighten the Ukrainian intelligentsia the Rumanian authorities staged a show trial in 1959 accusing Basil Bilivsky of encouraging people to study the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture.  He received a prison sentence of seven years.  A similar trial of Ukrainian cultural workers was held in Sighet.

    Arcady Zhukovsky in Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume II, University of Toronto Press, 1971, p. 1256a.

      G.   How Romania treats Ukrainians today

    And writing in 1994, historian Orest Subtelny described the contemporary plight of Ukrainians under Romanian rule as follows:

    The Ukrainians of Romania, numbering an estimated 70,000, are probably the worst off of all Ukrainians in Eastern Europe, both in socioeconomic and in national terms.  Scattered in such regions as southern Bukovyna, Dobrudja, Maramarosh, and Banat, they are isolated from each other and from Ukrainians in the USSR and in the West.  Most are indigent peasants.  Because Romania is one of the poorest East European countries, its Ukrainian inhabitants have limited opportunities to improve their socioeconomic status.

    The discriminatory policies of the Bucharest government make matters worse.  Up to 1947 the government refused to recognize Ukrainians as a distinct nationality.  Matters improved somewhat during the relatively liberal 1948-63 period, when Ukrainian-language schools were allowed to function in the villages.  About 120 were established with an enrollment of over 10,000 pupils.  At the University of Bucharest, a section of Ukrainian language and literature came into being.  But in 1964 a reaction set in and the government gradually nullified many gains of the previous years.  Today, the cowed Ukrainian minority in the country does not possess a single communal organization.

    Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History (2nd edition), University of Toronto Press, 1994, pp. 568-569.

    And now to supplement the refutation (begun above with respect to Snake Island) of Romanian irredentist Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu's claim that Romanian rule over Romania Irredenta was based on law, whereas rule of these same regions by non-Romanians has been based on force.

    It cannot be said that Ukraine ever shut down all Romanian schools under its jurisdiction, and treated Romanians as "citizens of Ukraine who have forgotten their native Ukrainian language" whereas Romanians did inflict the corresponding wrongs on Bukovyna Ukrainians starting in 1920.  It cannot be said that after a Romanian uprising against Ukrainian oppression, Ukraine forced 54,000 Romanians to flee westward across the Siret River, subjected eight Romanian villages to severe reprisals, and executed 5 to 15 thousand Romanians and yet Romania inflicted the corresponding suffering on Ukrainians following their Khotyn Uprising of 1919.  It cannot be said that after an uprising of Romanian peasants against Ukrainian oppression, Ukraine tried 386 Romanians and sentenced 86 of them to prison terms ranging from 1 to 15 years and yet Romania inflicted the corresponding wrong on Ukrainians following their Tatarbunary uprising of 1924.  It cannot be said that Ukraine ever participated in a Nazi invasion of Romania, and regarded a region in which Ukrainians comprised only 10 percent of the population as a slice of Greater Ukraine which happened to lie west of the Siret River and yet Romania perpetrated the corresponding injustice when it occupied Transnistria in 1941.  It cannot be said that in the course of invading Romania, Ukraine executed tens of thousands of Romanian citizens, and herded tens of thousands more into concentration camps, and deported many tens of thousands more and yet Romania has committed the corresponding crimes against Ukrainian citizens in the course of invading Ukraine in 1941.  It cannot be said that Ukraine ever sentenced a Romanian to seven years in prison for the crime of encouraging people to study the Romanian language and Romanian culture and yet Romania did sentence Basil Bilivsky to seven years in prison for the crime of encouraging people to study the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture.  It could not be said in 1994 that "today, the cowed Romanian minority in Ukraine does not possess a single communal organization," yet that is what could be said of the cowed Ukrainian minority in Romania.

    In short, it would appear that territorial expansion by means of force has come entirely from the Romanian side, and that Romanian irredentist Prof. Dr. Aurelian Teodorescu is better at playing the role of a Romanian irredentist than he is at playing the more intellectually-challenging role of a "Prof. Dr.".

      H.   Irredentist anger may help explain the arrogance with which Romania opposes the Bystre Canal

    In short, the preponderant attitude of today's Romanian administration toward its Ukrainian neighbors may be a continuation of Romanian predispositions established at least as far back as living memory goes which predispositions are to invade, occupy, oppress, and murder all in the interests of establishing a Greater Romania.  With this habit deeply entrenched, some Romanians gaze across the Kilia arm of the Danube not at Ukraine, but at Romania Irredenta which Ukrainians temporarily happen to occupy, and from which they even have the impudence to launch economic competition which eats into Romanian profits, and from which Romania Irredenta the Ukrainians will need to be expelled, or at least conquered and forced to speak Romanian.  To the Ukrainian effrontery of daring to compete with Romania, old Romanian habits call forth a Romanian temper tantrum, and that is an apt description of the Romanian reaction to Ukraine's daring to dredge silt off the floor of the Bystre Channel.

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin claiming that the Romanian provinces of Moldavia, Transylvania, and Dobruja were under "Romanian occupation" and that Romania is the only surviving empire in Europe
    http://www.infoukes.com/rfe-ukraine/2004/0105.html.  Hungary, in turn, publishes maps showing the locations of the vast numbers of Hungarians presently living in Romanian territory that had been formerly ruled by Hungary.  If all historical claims were to be aired, Romania would find itself beset from more directions than merely Moldova and Hungary.

      I.   Romania needs to educate its backward

    The irredentists within Romanian leadership constitute a dangerous pocket of backwardness in a country which might benefit from implementing a broad program to eradicate backwardness:

    Dead dug up for rural Dracula ritual

    Romania | Family exhumes teacher to cut out heart, end sickness


    BUCHAREST It was just before midnight as Gheorghe Marinescu and five of his relatives crept into the graveyard in the small Romanian village of Marotinul de Sus.  They knew which plot they were looking for a simple earth grave with a wooden cross bearing the name Petre Toma and quickly, but quietly, set about digging.

    When they had dragged the body out, they waited.  Then, at the stroke of 12, Marinescu began the ritual they had been planning for weeks, one that had passed from generation to generation in their family.  They drove a pitchfork through Toma's chest, opened it, drew out his heart and then put stakes through the rest of his body.  They sprinkled garlic over the mutilated corpse and then, carefully, laid it back in its grave.

    They left the cemetery with the heart impaled on the end of the pitchfork and went to a crossroads where Marinescu's wife, son and daughter-in-law were waiting.  There the group burnt it, dissolved the ashes and then drank the solution.

    The scene last July would fit readily into any number of films about vampires and the Dracula legend but Gheorghe Marinescu is real.  Last week he and his five relatives Mitrica Mircea, Popa Stelica, Constantin Florea, Ionescu Ion and Pascu Oprea were sentenced to six months in jail for the unlawful exhumation of the body of Toma, 76, a former teacher and a man they believed had risen from the dead to drink their blood while they slept.

    News of what the Marinescu family did made headlines in Romania, but in a country where a large minority of the population admit to openly believing in the "undead," football bosses employ witches to cast spells on foreign teams, and a couple recently named their new-born son Dracula after premonitions of impending danger to him, many were unsurprised by what they read.  [...]

    But while Dracula and vampires are just a fascinating legend to most people outside the country, to many Romanians, mostly in rural areas, they are a terrifying reality.  After his arrest, Marinescu said: "If we hadn't done anything, my wife, my son and my daughter-in-law would have died.  That is when I decided to 'unbury' him.  I've seen these kinds of things before.

    "When we took him out of the grave, he had blood around his mouth.  We took his heart and he sighed when we stabbed him.  We burned it, dissolved the ash into water and the people who had fallen sick drank it.  They got better immediately.  It was like someone took away all their pain and sickness.

    "We performed a ritual that is hundreds of years old.  We had no idea we were committing a crime.  On the contrary, we believed that we were doing a good thing because the spirit of Petre was haunting us all and was very close to killing some of us.  He came back from the dead and was after us."

    Marinescu explained to police when he was arrested that Toma, who he said had been a respected and well-liked teacher in the village for years, had been buried on Christmas Day in 2003.  But soon afterward he had begun to appear to members of Marinescu's family in dreams as a vampire.  Although he did not see the man himself, he saw his family become sick and they told him Toma was not just a dream, but a vampire.

    He, like the rest of his family, had been told how to recognize vampires and how to deal with them by his parents who had been taught that knowledge from their own parents and they from theirs.  He said he had had to act quickly to save his family.

    Paula Diaconu, who has lived in Marotinul de Sus for decades, praised the ritual carried out by Marinescu and his relatives.  "It was all a good thing to take his heart out because people were in danger.  Villagers in Romania know about rituals for driving away the evil spirits of the dead," he said.

    Another man from the village, Dumitru Moineasa, once drank a solution containing the ashes of his uncle's heart.  "An uncle of mine died in 1992 and a few days after we buried him I started to feel very sick," he said.  "The doctor had no idea what was wrong with me.  One day, an aunt brought me a glass of water.  I drank it all.  I got well almost immediately.  I only found out later that it was my dead uncle's ashes."

    His friend, Domnica Brancusi, said that hearts had been taken out of dead men's chests many times before.  "There have been dozens of dead men who turned into vampires and were haunting us," he said.  "But usually the family of the dead man who was haunting people made a pact with those people and agreed not to say anything about the rituals.  Until this case, no fuss was ever made about it."

    Local police laid charges against the six men after Toma's daughter, Floarea Cotoran, who has since left Marotinul de Sus, complained about what happened.  They admitted they were aware of similar rituals having been performed in the region.  A policeman in nearby Celaru, which has jurisdiction over Marotinul de Sus, and who asked not to be named, said: "We've known about it for years.  There's never been anything we could do about it as no one ever complained."  [...]

    Sunday Telegraph

    The Vancouver Sun, 10-Feb-2005, p. A9.  Poster originally at  www.asdfplus.com/MoviePosters/Cover-Dracula.htm  A curious incongruity is the claim that someone is able to drink a glass of water, and realize that it contains ashes not by seeing it and tasting it, but only by being told.

    6.  Romania Is Emboldened By NATO Support

    Romania's acquisition of NATO membership promises soon to involve the stationing of American troops, and the building of American airbases, on Romanian soil:

    WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) — Insider notes from United Press International for March 11

    Here comes the new NATO — on the shores on the Black Sea and short Stealth bomber flight away from the Middle East.  Bulgaria's Cabinet has now approved a $80 million deal with NATO to expand its airfield at Graf Ignatievo and upgrade its Bezmer airbase.  The two sites will eventually house U.S. troops.  Bulgaria joined the military alliance April 2004 and expects shortly to host American forces as the Pentagon shifts further from its Cold War deployments in Central Europe and Asia to smaller sites in countries such as in Bulgaria and Romania that are closer to potential Middle Eastern conflict zones.  The Bulgarian government offered the bases, located in the southern part of the country, as sites for the Pentagon for use primarily as training sites.  According to NATO supreme commander Gen. James Jones, the Pentagon is ready to begin negotiations with both Bulgaria and Romania about hosting U.S. troops.  Bulgaria and Romania are eagerly promoting their ports, firing ranges, airfields and other sites to the United States and NATO officials in the hope of attracting investment needed to close the enormous wealth gap with the European Union.

    Interest Alert, 11-Mar-2005  interestalert.com/~

    Perhaps from the NATO-countries' point of view, a NATO aspirant — which is what Romania has been over most of its years of opposition to the Bystre Canal — can do no wrong.  Even this NATO aspirant's illicit activities such as disseminating disinformation, protecting its monopoly, suppressing competition, contaminating the Danube River, and ruining the Danube Delta will be supported by the NATO countries so long as these activities disadvantage mainly non-NATO victims.  Romania offering to place its territory at the service of NATO may help explain not only some of the riotous support that Romania has received in its war against Ukraine's monopoly-busting Bystre Channel, but also some of the imperiousness and swagger with which Romania has conducted that war.

    If NATO support of disinformation campaigns, and NATO permission to desecrate the environment, should turn out to be perquisites of joining NATO, then countries which have no wish to best their neighbors by lies, or to ruin the environment, might view such perquisites as disincentives for joining.

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills


    1.  What If Europe Polluted The Danube As Little As Ukraine Does?

    It might be hypothesized that in a rank ordering of all European sources of Danube Delta pollution, Ukraine's Bystre Canal in full operation would not fall in the top hundred.  One example of such non-Bystre pollution within the Danube watershed (and lying upstream of Romania as well) might be the Serbian one shown in the following photograph, where on the right can be seen the dead Borska River poisoned by acid mine drainage, and where on the left can be seen the Kriveljska River adding wastewater from a battery factory:

    Bor, Serbia, confluence of the Borska River on the right (dead because of acid mine drainage) and the Kriveljska River on the left (contaminated by wastewater from a battery factory).  Originally at DEF Bulletin, The Danube Environmental Forum Newsletter, 1/2004  www.de-forum.org/~.  Alternative photographs of the same scene can be found at  www.etos.co.yu/~  and at  www.de-forum.org/~.

    If it were the case that Bystre Canal shipping ranks something like hundred-and-first out of all sources of pollution of the Danube Delta, then perhaps more could be gained by cleaning up the top hundred than by worrying about the Bystre.

    In need of explanation is what Europeans imagine happens to their Arsenic and their Lead and their Mercury and their Cadmium that they expect Ukrainian reed beds to "filter"?  Does the act of "filtration" make these metals magically vanish forever, or do the reeds which "filter" them die and deposit their Arsenic and Lead and Mercury and Cadmium on top of the accumulation already lying on the Delta floor, a deposit which justifies Europe objecting to Ukrainian dredging disturbing the European store of toxins?  Observers not gripped by European egocentrism may go so far as to wonder whether those who deposited the toxins on the Danube Delta floor should not be responsible for their removal, an option which does not enter the consciousness of Europeans who act as if it was Ukraine and not Danube-basin Europe that had deposited those contaminants there:

    One particular aspect of the project raising environmental concerns is the sediment management.  The dredged sediment during the construction of the project (4.765 million m3) is deposited on the banks of the river or dumped offshore for final disposal.  It has been acknowledged that this sediment is polluted with heavy metals, pesticides and other hazardous substances.  Although some monitoring data exist, apparently no risk assessment (exposure and effect evaluation) has been carried out, neither for storage on land nor for dumping in the sea.  No clear information on the safety measures during the sediment management was obtained.  Therefore, the Expert Team is not in the position to assess whether environmental impacts are occurring or will occur from the sediment management.

    Joint Mission of the Expert Team of the European Commission and International Conventions to the Bystroe project in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta (6-8 October 2004)  europa.eu.int/~

    In any case, as a ship preferring to take the faster Kilia route instead of the slower Sulina route can be expected to reduce the pollution it leaves behind in the Danube Delta, then the question might more properly be how high the Bystre project ranks among the measures that reduce pollution in the Danube Delta.

    2.  What If Europe Diverted As Little Danube Water As Ukraine Does?

    The Bystre has been criticized not only for the pollution that it is expected to add to the Danube Delta, but also for reducing the water flow to other parts of the Danube Delta.  Here too what is missing from the criticism is a requisite ranking of all European projects that reduce water flow either to some part of the Delta, or to the Delta as a whole, and here too a reasonable hypothesis which needs to be tested is that the Bystre again fails to make it into the top hundred, as hydroelectric and flood-control dams have sprung up like mushrooms all over the Danube catchment, and new ones are being built continuously, with each dam subtracting from the water ultimately delivered to the Danube Delta.

    The number of hydroelectric dams across the Danube alone, disregarding its tributaries, has been already glimpsed above in

    The black triangles in the detail below from MAP: MAJOR HYDRAULIC STRUCTURES represent major dams of all kinds in the upper Danube, not just hydroelectric ones, including major dams on tributaries, and invite the impression of European massive interference with Danube-catchment water flow.  And as this map marks only the major hydraulic structures, it is unable to convey the full extent of European interference with Danube waters, the total of all dams in the Danube watershed possibly numbering in the tens of thousands.


    An example of the sort of structure that each of the triangles in the above map represents is the Czech Republic's Vranov Dam shown below.  Which particular triangle happens to represent the Vranov Dam can be found above "Wien" (Vienna) at MAP: MAJOR HYDRAULIC STRUCTURES.  What the photograph below serves to underline is the vastness of European interference with water flow as compared to the as-yet undetected and unmeasured interference from Ukraine's dredging a few meters of silt off the bottom of existing channels in a few locations toward the mouth of the Danube.

    Vranov dam at the Czech-Austrian border is one of the engineering facilities heavily modifying the character of rivers (© Nationalpark Thayatal).  Photograph and caption originally in the pdf file at  www.zinke.at/~.

    Given Europes' Brobdingnagian, historical and ongoing, alteration of Danube-water flow the complete MAP: MAJOR HYDRAULIC STRUCTURES shows 88 major dams in the Romanian Danube watershed alone with the construction of each alteration possibly never having been preceded by a solicitation of Ukraine's approval, it seems inequitable that Ukraine's trivial and insubstantial dredging along the last few kilometers of the Danube, and its construction at the very mouth of the Bystre out in the Black Sea, should arouse interest, let alone excite disapproval.  That it does excite disapproval illuminates again the picture of kibitzers who live in glass houses throwing stones.

    3.  What If Europe Paid For Biodiversity In Proportion To What It Expects Ukraine To Pay?

    The fact of the matter, seemingly missed by all commentators on Ukraine's Bystre Canal project so far, is that all European countries have it within their power to host a Danube-Delta equivalent on their own territories.  All they have to do is pay for it.  They have to pay to dismantle the shopping malls and highways and parking lots that they have built where their wetlands or grasslands or forests once stood, or to pay to flood again what they recently drained, or to ship in the topsoil that they recently scorched, or to plant saplings where they recently cut down forests, and so on and the biodiversity which they claim to prize will be restored not merely thousands of kilometers away in a foreign land, but in front of their very eyes where they will all the better be able to admire and enjoy it, and they can then hope to boast more species of fish than the Danube Delta, or more species of birds, or more species of plants and animals.  That is what can be theirs if they simply decide to pay what it costs.

    But Europeans aren't attracted to this option.  They have grown wealthy destroying biodiversity, and now the use to which they wish to put their wealth is to buy luxury goods for their personal gratification, and to invest the rest in destroying more biodiversity so that they can acquire more wealth, as illustrated below with respect to the monk seal, one of the species which the BBC "Danube Delta Disaster" story above said thrived in the Danube Delta:

    Tourism boom bad news for monk seals

    The World Tourism Organization recently released a report showing that international tourism grew by 3.2 per cent last year, generating $455 billion.  Countries in the western Mediterranean fared particularly well, but this increase in tourism is bad news for the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus.  Tourism has been implicated in the extirpation of the monk seal in several regions, including Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Sardinia and Croatia, and continues to be a danger in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.  Although international conferences and intergovernmental institutions have consistently urged the tourism industry to meet its obligations towards the Mediterranean monk seal, it has so far conspicuously failed to do so.  There is growing resentment that conservation organizations are actually subsidizing the tourism industry by setting up protected areas, guarding monk seal refuges and distributing information to the public, while the tourism industry itself will not provide funds to help the seals.

    Source: The Monachus Guardian (2000), 3, 4.

    Text originally at Blackwell Synergy  www.blackwell-synergy.com/~.  Photograph of monk seal added from www.panda.org/~.

    It would appear, then, that one of the reasons why it is necessary for Ukraine to preserve its Danube Delta is to provide a habitat for the monk seal which the rest of Europe prefers to kill off.

    The Europeans do care enough about the environment, then, to demand that poor countries, like Ukraine, pay to keep their natural habitats unspoiled.  They care enough to demand, but not to themselves pay for, the thing desired.  They do not offer to buy the Danube Delta from Ukraine so that they can turn it into a nature preserve they want Ukraine to in effect do the buying.  They do not offer to compensate Ukraine with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars annually to compensate for Ukraine's loss of direct and indirect benefits that would come from the economic development of its Odessa Oblast they want Ukraine simply to suffer these losses uncompensated.

    What all commentators seem to have missed, then, is the logical and economic equivalence of Germany, say, paying the cost of restoring its Rhine Delta, and Ukraine paying the cost of preserving its Danube Delta.  Whether restored or preserved, natural habitats come at a price.  Any who insist that Ukraine preserve, without equally insisting that Germany restore, demand of Ukrainians what they fear would be insolent to demand of Germans.  However, it might not be unreasonable to ask those who have gotten rich by ruining their home environment, and who now demand that foreigners remain poor in order to preserve their foreign environment, to first demonstrate their good faith by restoring their own spoiled wilderness, as for example by Germany restoring the Rhine Delta.  Germany is selected here arbitrarily as a hypothetical case, though it has not taken a leading role in objecting to the Bystre Canal, and in fact it is a German company which is assisting Ukraine in building the Bystre Canal.

    But to continue briefly with the hypothetical example Germany does not demonstrate any interest in turning its Rhine Delta into a Danube-Delta equivalent.  Rather, Germany continues to transform its Rhine Delta into a life-free zone lacking fish, lacking birds, lacking plants.  At the mouth of the Rhine one finds no pelican colonies, no reed beds, no wild boar or chamois or lynx or wolf or bear, no hunters being photographed with their kill of waterfowl, no fishing boats.  Mathematical curves where hydraulics and hydrology call for them, otherwise rectilinearity.  Germany works on its Rhine Delta the way a plumber works, which is to say with the aim of controlling the flow of water that has been stripped of life.  It is an expression of plumber mentality to exclude reference to fish and birds and plants in stating that "To prevent the silting of the harbours near to the river mouth, lateral dams are being built to convey the suspended material into deeper parts of the lake":

    Rhine River Delta at Lake Constance, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology  www.vaw.ethz.ch/~

    The above, then, is the model that Romanian leadership strives to imitate, and is well on its way to duplicating in its Sulina and George Canals.  If Ukraine attempted to become as wealthy as Europe by similarly following the European precedent, then the above would be what the mouths of the Prorva, Ochakivske, Bystre, and Starostambulske would look like in a few years, and with Ukraine turning to harass and threaten some even poorer country than itself in an effort to stop that country's destruction of its wetlands, Ukraine's harassment accompanied by the admonition that wetlands must be preserved because they were becoming perilously scarce all over the world, Ukraine, alas, having none.

    1. European poisons.  Europe's obligation, then, as it continues to rebuke Ukraine for building its Bystre Canal, is to explain why it is that Europe should be allowed to continue sending its poisons down the Danube River, while expecting Ukraine to maintain its reed beds to filter out those poisons.  Wouldn't a better solution be for Europe to stop sending those poisons in the first place?

    2. European water diversion.  And Europe's obligation, as it continues to reprimand Ukraine for perhaps lowering the water level imperceptibly somewhere in the Danube Delta, is to explain why it is that Europe should be allowed to lower water level drastically everywhere in the Danube Delta.  If Europe wants to raise water levels in the Delta, wouldn't the fairest method be for it to release some of the humungous volumes of water it diverts instead of asking Ukraine to stop its inappreciable diversion?

    3. European sharing cost.  And Europe's obligation is to explain why it has chosen the Danube Delta as the foremost European location where biodiversity needs to flourish.  Aren't there a score of alternative locations where Europeans can pay to install biodiversity for themselves with the wealth that their recent destruction of biodiversity has brought them?

    If Europe polluted the Danube Delta as little as Ukraine does, then the Danube Delta would be clean.  If Europe diverted as little water from the Danube River as Ukraine does, then the Danube Delta would enjoy high water levels.  If Europe was as ready to pay for biodiversity as it expects Ukraine to be, then a score of regions as biodiverse as the Danube Delta would spring up all over Europe.

    Top  Contents  Introduction  Blamed  Geography  Environment  Law  Motivation  Europe  Bottom         Maps  Spills