Environmental disaster on the Danube

Environmental disaster on the Danube

Source: Lyubov Ivanova
The shallowing of the Danube, the deepest river in the Balkan region and the second longest in Europe, is already being called a disaster. A decrease in water levels to critical levels is recorded this autumn along the entire length of the river, which leads to a stop in navigation across most of the trans-European waterway. The drought results are especially severe off the coasts of Bulgaria and Romania. Here are the lowest levels of the Danube recorded in 100 years of observation.

According to the executive director of the agency “Research and Maintenance of the Danube River” Ivelin Zanev, in October the river level was minus 30 cm compared to the conditional “zero” mark. This interferes with navigation, as well as the work of energy and agricultural enterprises.

To control the situation, we had to use the Danube 1 hydrographic vessel. The radar system and echo sounder installed on board allow you to explore the depths of the fairway, marking dangerous areas on the Danube map in the form of shoals, underwater rocks and even sunken ships. Based on the measurement data, navigation maps are compiled, allowing some ships to bypass shallow water areas. Thanks to the work of hydrologists, there are no ships running aground on the Danube yet. However, ships are gradually accumulating in the roadsteads, waiting for improved shipping conditions.

But the forecasts of weather forecasters and ecologists are disappointing: due to the greenhouse effect, which has led to drought in the region, the water level of the Danube will remain critically low in the near future.
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