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Vistula spit canal, Poland

Poland will dig a waterway across a narrow strip of land that separates its eastern coastline from Baltic Sea with great damage to wildlife and disregarding reasons from the EU and internal opposition.


Poland plans to dig a waterway across a narrow strip of land that separates its eastern coastline from Baltic Sea. Poland shares both the lagoon and the split with Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Environmentalists say it is difficult to predict the impact of the canal construction on various species living in the area, including cormorants and Baltic seals. No species will benefit from the project.  This project is one of the biggest investments in Poland, there is an upheaval in society, different actors organised protests and receive a wide national media coverage.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Vistula spit canal, Poland
State or province:Pomeranian Voivodeship
Location of conflict:Skowroniki
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Wetlands and coastal zone management
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Coal
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Poland has announced its plans to press ahead with the construction of a waterway through the Vistula Spit, a narrow strip of land that separates a large part of the country's eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea. At present, the only entrance to the lagoon from the Baltic Sea is via a channel that is inside Russian territorial waters in Kaliningrad.

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Project area:190
Level of Investment for the conflictive project225,130,400
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:2000-3000
Start of the conflict:16/02/2019
Company names or state enterprises:BESIX Group from Belgium - General contractor
NDI S.A. from Poland - General contractor
Relevant government actors:Poland’s Maritime Office in Gdynia
Polish Government
Law and Justice Party
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- EU Natura 2000 (Red Natura 2000) -
- WWF Poland -
- Polski Klub Ekologiczny/Friends of the Earth Poland -
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusUnder construction
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The canal is under construction despite protests from environmentalists, opposition political parties, and others.
Sources & Materials

[2] Agreement on building Vistula Spit canal signed. rl/kb 04.10.2019
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[2] Agreement on building Vistula Spit canal signed. rl/kb 04.10.2019

Reuters article
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Emerging Europe
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Friends of the Earth Europe
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|1] Poland plows through with Baltic canal project, despite green activist anger and EU demands. Posted by Leslie Eastman March 7, 2019
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Twitter of Obozdlamierzei (natura2000)
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Meta information
Last update01/01/2020
Conflict ID:4833
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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