Wadden Sea could lose Unesco status if gas and salt extraction continues

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The Wadden Sea near Ternaard

In association with
Omrop Friesland
NOS News

If gas and salt extraction in the Wadden Sea continues, the area could lose its Unesco World Heritage status. A new report is critical of mineral extraction in the Wadden Sea.

The report was prepared by the IUCN, an international conservation organization that collaborates with the UN organization Unesco. Outgoing minister Christianne van der Wal sent part of the report to the House of Representatives last night.

Van der Wal will not provide a substantive response until later. The Unesco World Heritage Committee will formally decide on the Wadden Sea at the next conference, which will take place in Saudi Arabia from 10 September.

Wad can subside

The NAM wants to extract gas north of the Frisian village of Ternaard. Unesco does not think that these plans can go hand in hand with the current Unesco status. The UN organization also has concerns about salt extraction under the tidal flats. Oil extraction and the laying of cables also pose a threat to nature.

Due to mining, the soil under the mudflats can subside. If the sea level rise is also added to this, the Wadden Sea can lose its unique natural properties, such as drying out at low tide, explains Omrop Fryslân. In addition, fish and other marine animals are affected by the noise of the work. The Wad has been a World Heritage Site since 2009.

The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark must submit a plan for the conservation of the Wadden Sea by 1 February at the latest.

Wadden Association

According to the Wadden Association, UNESCO’s warning puts the finger on the sore spot: “With UNESCO’s urgent request in mind, it is clear that every Dutch government, whether caretaker or missionary, will have to recognize that even more mining is not in keeping with the World Heritage status of the Wadden Sea,” the association responds.

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  • Cabinet remains firm: gas field will only be closed definitively next year
  • Disappointment on the Wadden Islands about gas drilling: ‘War is an occasional argument’
  • In association with

    Omrop Friesland

  • Regional news

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