Bulgaria: Chemical pollution threats the Danube

21 November 2012

Leakage from a capsized ship in the major port town of Ruse on the Bulgarian side of the Danube can have serious consequences for the environment. The ship was damaged ten days ago, but news of the leakage only became known yesterday.

The head of the Maritime Administration in Ruse, Georgy Ivanov, said port authorities tried to contain any pollution from the boat but failed to pump fuel inside the boat. "Currently, there is no oil spill in the Danube," he said on state television BNT Bulgarian.

Petrochemical spills form a thin film on the surface of water, which stops oxygen from penetrating water, causing aquatic organisms to suffocate.

Mrs Francine Cousteau, named Ambassador of Danube Delta in 2009 by the Romanian Environment Minister is worried for the health of the Danube Delta and the important wetland situated downstream of Ruse, and which shelters a highly diverse flora and fauna, unique in Europe, with numerous rare species.

Next week the first Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region will take place in Regensburg Germany. Tarik Chekchak, Director for Science and Environment of the Cousteau Society will attend the meeting to stress the importance ecological issues linked to the Danube Delta.