GB No. 2(17)/95
I had an opportunity of taking part in a debate of the Voivodship Commission for Environmental Protection in Włocławek as a representative of community organisations. I noticed that building a motorway caused serious problems as early as in the phase of planning. Since similar commissions are there in every voivodship and the scheme of the motorway will certainly be the subject of their debates (or has already been) I would like to share my observations with you. Perhaps, they will inspire you to discuss and make widely known the problems which can be solved only as a matter of state.
Firstly, all the so-called representatives of authorities, self-governments, economic organisations and scientific bodies have not the slightest doubts about the expediency of the motorway. People who are indirectly interested in this matter, that is owners of the land across which the motorway is going to be built, look forward to the vast sums of money they will certainly receive for the plots of land. The price often exceeds two or even three times the actual value of the properties. The local communities, in turn, compete with one another to have parking lots, petrol stations and motels built on their grounds, forgetting that the infrastructure is dangerous for environment. The result of the rivalry is that while in the West such points are distributed 40 km from one another, in Poland the local communities demand that within a distance of 20 km as many as three such places were built. Facing such an attitude any solutions alternative to the motorway appears to be utterly pointless.
Secondly, protective green belts along the motorway, seemingly necessary, appear to be impossible to create. The main argument against them is the shortage of funds for additional land purchase. The law regarding motorways does not mention the belts and the private investor is simply indifferent to the problem. Along the parts of the motorway that have already been built (e.g. Wrzeonia-Poznan), cows feed in ditches. To those who like milk - bon appetit! In the neighbouring fields our everyday food grows; the farmers plant their household vegetables on separate, distant plots. It is worth mentioning that the emission of toxic dust and gases is expected to spread as far as 300-400m from the axis of the road, and the noise - 500m. Feeble suggestions that creating the green belt can be included in the program of enlarging wooded area in Poland and organising working places for the unemployed were not taken seriously. We can only hope that farmers will reclaim compensation for losses caused by the motorway. Then they may spend the money for purchase of new land and the fields in the vicinity of the road will be either left uncultivated or planted with trees. There are even relevant legal regulations. But who is going to put himself into trouble of getting involved into legal proceedings? And what for? A farmer will not eat what he grows on the polluted fields. All in all it is highly improbable.
Thirdly, there is a problem of crossings for animals, large ones as well as small, like reptiles or amphibians. The problem is serious as the results of surveys conducted in Denmark indicate that annually, on a 250 km-long segment of motorway, 10 million of animals die - unbelievable! On the other hand such crossings are places ideal for poachers and hunters and it is impossible to guard them constantly.
Finally, the motorway means loosing 550 ha of land, 60 ha of which are forests. So far the investors have not mentioned planting a new forests to replace the old ones.
We cannot stop building the motorway. But we can struggle for it being less detrimental to the environment. We can and we must. We must haunt and bother any authorities possible, from mayor to prime minister, members of Parliament and offices responsible for environmental protection. After all, their duty is to protect our rights, that is what we pay them for with our taxes.
Federacja Zielonych/Ziemia Przede Wszystkim
skr. 439, 60-959 Poznań 2
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 1/95