The situation at Lake Velence, one of Hungary’s largest lakes, remains critical, which is increasingly threatening the wildlife around the water mass. Last week masses of dying fish similar in spectacle to that at the beginning of the summer reappeared, followed by the death of numerous birds. Although no tangible solution is in sight, the government now says that the preparation of a complex and comprehensive action plan is already underway.
The water level at Lake Velence, Hungary’s third-largest lake and popular tourist destination, remains critically low. The drop caused by the summer drought has been particularly cruel to the lake’s wildlife. After a massive amount of fish had drowned at the beginning of the summer due to a lack of oxygen, tonnes of carcasses had to be removed from the water last week. Meanwhile, locals report that the already alarming situation is now being accompanied by masses of avian deaths, a further sign that the problem needs an urgent solution.
Although a plan to resolve this untenable situation had been presented earlier, the government did not support it, instead choosing to use the HUF 40 billion (EUR 112 million) needed to restart Hungary’s pandemic-hit economy.
As a result, civilian organizations and opposition parties slammed the Orbán administration for not providing the required sum while it is willing to spend many times that amount for several trivial things.
On Monday, Democratic Coalition lawmaker Ágnes Vadai sent a written question to Gergely Gulyás, the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, asking how there’s no money for Lake Velence when the cabinet provides the same amount for film studio expansions in Fót alone.
State Secretary Balázs Orbán responded on behalf of the minister. In his written answer, the State Secretary wrote that “the modernization of the film studio in Fót does not imply a lack of protection of the environment and the natural habitat of our country”, and that Lake Velence is a common concern “to the development of which the government is continuously devoting significant financial resources”.
Balázs Orbán then emphasized that the government had already allocated HUF 14 billion for the sustainable improvement of water quality, the preservation of the near-natural state of the shore areas, and the environmentally-conscious renewal of the lake.
At the same time, the State Secretary said that the government is ready to support a comprehensive and complex action plan to water management, taking into account drinking water security, flood protection, and irrigation aspects. The preparation of this plan is already underway with the involvement of several professional organizations and experts.
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