Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Poland: building a border wall is a necessity

 The construction of a barrier on the Polish-Belarusian border is a necessity, but it is good that environmental protection issues are considered - said the press spokesman of the minister coordinator of special services, Stanisław Żaryn.

As he noted, to meet the migration needs of wild animals, the barrier will be equipped with special passages for animals to eliminate the so-called dam effect - similar to the construction of highways.

The General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDEP) argues that border rivers, watercourses, and marshes will not be blocked. On these sections, other border protection systems will be used, which will allow wild animals to freely cross the border. GDEP reports that more than twenty large animal crossings (including bison and other large mammals) have been planned, as well as many smaller culverts.

Ultimately, the border will be subject to constant electronic monitoring, also aimed at recording the behavior of animals, which will allow, if necessary, to increase the number of large crossings. GDEP ensures that the fence will not, therefore, constitute a significant barrier for wild animals on the migration route of pan-European importance.

"However, it should be clearly emphasized that this route has been blocked for many years due to the barrier on the Belarusian side. The results of monitoring of the bison living on the Polish side of the border show that on the territory of Belarus, close to the border line, there is a barrier (...) which neither the bison nor other large mammals (such as roe deer, elk, wild boar) can overcome. It is a tight Belarusian fence that has existed for many years. It prevents the migration of wild animals not only in the Białowieża Primeval Forest, but also in the Knyszyn Primeval Forest. Among large mammals, under specific conditions, only wolves and lynxes can cross the fence, exposing themselves to injuries at the same time - it was indicated."

This puts into question the functionality of the cross-border UNESCO area, which is the Białowieża Forest.

Until now, however, UNESCO representatives have not called on Belarus to dismantle the fence. Meanwhile, the Polish side informed UNESCO about the plans to build a modern Polish barrier that would respect the interests of nature in November last year. So far, UNESCO has not presented any reservations in relation to the implementation of the investment - indicated.

The General Director for Environmental Protection states that the quick construction of a permanent barrier will be much more beneficial for nature than the existence of a temporary barrier and the presence of a large number of people on the border.