Drought and pollution affect part of Europe

English Section / 23 februarie

Drought and pollution affect part of Europe

Versiunea în limba română

Drought is creating big problems in several areas of Europe. After Spain, Italy began to take measures to limit the damage. The lack of precipitation in Italy worsens the pollution. The circulation of the most polluting cars has been banned in Milan and eight other cities in Lombardy, due to the very high level of pollution in this rich industrial region in the north of the country. Lombardy, home to a large number of intensive livestock farms, has also banned the spreading of liquid manure on fields, a practice that causes high levels of nitrate pollution. Northern Italy has long been one of the most polluted regions in Europe. Lombardy's problem is partly geographical, as the region is located in a basin between mountains and is therefore poorly ventilated. But environmental NGOs believe that this handicap is too often used as an excuse by local authorities to justify high levels of air pollution without doing anything to remedy the situation. Throughout Italy, regions suffer from drought or a severe lack of precipitation, especially in the mountains, especially in the Alps. The water equivalent of Italian snow - the amount of water stored in the snowpack - fell by 64% this month compared to last year, according to the CIMA Research Foundation. The lack of precipitation aggravates an already difficult situation, after the heat waves of 2023, which decreased the level of reserves and increased water consumption. Sicily declared a state of natural calamity due to drought in early February, and in Sardinia farmers can only use limited amounts of water. The level of water reserves has decreased by 23% compared to the average of the last 14 years. The southern regions of Puglia and Basilicata are also suffering, and farmers' association Coldiretti warned last weekend that high temperatures had awakened thousands of bees much earlier than in other years. This situation threatens the pollination of certain crops, because the bees are not synchronized with the flowering period of the plants from which they collect the pollen. Authorities in Piedmont, a province in the northwest of the country, asked the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday to declare a state of natural disaster due to the drought that is wreaking havoc in the region, affecting vineyards and causing "significant" decreases in wine production.

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