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. Environmentalists urge Ukraine to close controversial Danube delta canal
ODESSA, Ukraine (AFP) Oct 06, 2004
Dozens of environmentalist organisations from the European Union, Russia and Ukraine urged Kiev on Wednesday to close a controversial canal in the Danube delta that was inaugurated just over a month ago.

About 40 groups including WWF, gathered in this southern Ukrainian city for a forum, called for an end to the use of the canal which slices through a protected nature reserve.

They also in a resolution called for Ukraine to carry out "an ecological and independent expert study of the Danube delta".

The building of the canal which is due for completion next year was "carried out in a dangerous way for the environment", the resolution said.

Environmentalists lamented the "loss of colonies of birds" due to the construction work, it added.

The canal has already prompted objections from the European Union, Romania and the United States.

Romania bitterly protested the building of the canal on its border without even the courtesy of an environmental impact study.

Environmentalists have complained that it threatens rare fauna and flora in the Danube delta reserve, which is shared by Ukraine and Romania.

Inaugurated on August 26, the Bystroe canal gives Ukraine waterway access to the Black Sea from the Danube and is due to be fully in use from the end of

The delta's nature reserve was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1991. It harbours some 90 species of fish and 300 species of birds, a number of them endangered.

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