Scientific equipment for soil quality analysis thanks to €2 million from EU (05/03/2012)

Tirana, 5 March 2012

PRESS RELEASE

As part of an EU-funded project to strengthen the environmental monitoring system in Albania, the Ministry of Environment and the Agriculture University of Kamza now have modern equipment for soil quality analysis. The equipment enables specialists at the University and the Ministry to generate reliable data on soil quality in Albania, which is a basis for good agricultural policy and productivity. Through this project the EU supports a holistic system of environmental monitoring in Albania, to include air and water quality, and biodiversity. The system will not only allow Albania to have accurate data on the state of its environment, but also formulate appropriate and informed policies to address environmental concerns and make economic growth sustainable for generations to come.

Driving growth in ways that protect the environment is a policy staple in the EU as sacrificing the environment for short-term economic gain endangers the very sustainability of the conditions of healthy living for the next generations. The EU is a leader in environmental protection and its experience has shown that protecting the environment does not mean sacrifices on the economy. Quite the contrary, the environment sector is a very important pool of jobs and integrating the environment into our thinking has changed business models in ways that enhance the economy. EU assistance to Albania in this field covers a variety of fundamental issues, including water and sewerage systems, waste management and pollution control. Reliable data on environmental indicators such as air, water and soil quality is instrumental to developing appropriate policies to improve living conditions for citizens. Therefore, through this €2 million project, the EU is assisting Albania in strengthening its Environmental Monitoring System through the development of legislation and through the provision of scientific equipment. The equipment now housed by the University of Agriculture of Kamza is an important tool in the hands of Albanian specialists to generate the data on soil quality that can drive agricultural growth and productivity. The project seeks to help Albania adopt and enforce EU environmental principles and standards.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi visited the Laboratory for Soil Monitoring of the University of Kamza to inaugurate the scientific equipment provided to the University and the Ministry of Environment. Addressing the students and faculty, Ambassador Sequi noted that the new equipment provides to students, specialists and policy-makers the tools to increase their knowledge and better address issues of soil treatment, farming and productivity. “Without data, there can be no progress”, he said. Ambassador Sequi also emphasised the need to prioritise environmental protection as key to better public health and economic growth, observing that “In the last 20 years, Albania has experienced impressive economic growth, but it has experienced environmental degradation too. And degradation translates into bad health, it creates far reaching public health issues and burdens the state budget. Degradation also means a loss of economic potential, a loss of jobs and income in sectors such as tourism, recycling, farming and agriculture”.
Over the last 5 years, The EU has provided almost €115 million of its taxpayers’ money to improve drinking and sewerage water systems, treat hazardous waste and strengthen environmental institutions.

For further information, please contact:

Artes BUTKA
Press & Information Officer
Tel: + 355 4 2228 320, + 355 42 228 479
Fax: + 355 4 230 752
E-mail: artes.butka@eeas.europa.eu
Delegation's website: www.delalb.ec.europa.eu