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Agriculture as surface water polluter in the Danube River Basin and Central and Eastern Europe

Znaor, Darko; Vollenbroek, Johan and Csikos, Imre (1966) Agriculture as surface water polluter in the Danube River Basin and Central and Eastern Europe. Hrvatske vode, IV (15), pp. 155-156.

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Summary

More than a half of the territory of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is used for agricultural activities and agriculture represents an important economic activity of the region. But at the same time, agriculture in CEE is also a serious source of environmental degradations/pollution among which loss of biodiversity, soil and water ones seem to be most obvious. Moreover, regarding the pollution of water resources, particularly the surface water in CEE, it has been shown by several studies that agriculture represents major, much more serious source of pollution than any other sector (e.g. industry, transport, population, etc.). Among these studies, the results from the recent Danube Environmental Integrated Study, done within the framework of the UNDP Danube Environmental Programme show that more than 50% of the total nutrient load in the surface water of the Danube basin derives from agriculture (similar figures were obtained from a research on the pollution of the Baltic See, too). Additionally agriculture is also main source of pesticides in the water and contributes to the contamination with heavy metals as well. All this is resulting in eutrophication and contamination of water by pathogenic microbes and chemicals. The damage to priority functions of ground and surface water in the Danube basin and part of the north-western shelf of the Black Sea is estimated at some 4 billion ECU/year. This shows that much more attention should be paid to the change of the present agricultural practice. Trying to influence "beginning of the pipe", by reducing and/or preventing most of agri-chemical inputs, seems to be most appropriate strategy and a precondition for solving the nutrient related and other problems with water quality in CEE. However, this cannot be achieved by mere technical solutions, but also requires the change in economic and agricultural policies on all levels, so that economic and social conditions in which low input sustainable agriculture is competitive can be created. Regarding this, it is pleasant to notice that both some governments of CEE, as well as the international community are changing their views and trying to develop projects and introduce policy measures which support sustainable (and even ecological) types of agriculture. Among these, especially interesting and serious are efforts done within the framework of the Applied Research Programme of the Danube Environmental Programme, financed by the Commission of the EU, which are also briefly discussed in the paper.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic agriculture and water pollution; Ecological agriculture; Ecological farming; Central and Eastern Europe; Sustainable development; Danube River Basin
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: International Organizations
Netherlands > Wageningen University and Research Centre WUR
Deposited By: Znaor, Dr Darko
ID Code:26417
Deposited On:20 Jun 2014 08:04
Last Modified:20 Jun 2014 08:04
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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