Lake Ohrid is Europe’s oldest lake, straddling the mountainous border between southwestern North Macedonia and eastern Albania. It was formed by tectonic shifting over two million years ago and is home to a large number of unique flora and fauna. The lake preserves a unique aquatic ecosystem that is of worldwide importance, with more than 200 endemic species. Due to its exceptional natural and cultural value part of the Lake Ohrid Region in North Macedonia was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. In February 2018, the Government of Albania initiated the process to extend the area to its part of the lake. The biggest threat to Lake Ohrid today is plastic waste.
A new video ‘Pearl in a Plastic Bag’ and an animated video ‘Message from the Ohrid trout‘ are part of a awareness raising campaign marked by various community activities as well as cleaning up of illegal dumpsite along the Ohrid lakeshore. The campaign aims to sensitise the inhabitants of the Pogradec region in Albania about the value and beauty of the lake, and the threat of waste in order to inspire people to better manage waste by reducing, reusing and recycling it.
“We are very pleased for having this awareness campaign designed and implemented in partnership with the local community as it is in their best interest to keep the lake and its shoreline clean and healthy. IUCN will continue to partner with authorities and communities in the region to enhance the ways people interact with nature,” said Boris Erg, Director of IUCN’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Designed and implemented in partnership with the Municipality of Pogradec, and in consultation with the local NGOs Une Gruaja and sustainable tourism operator Explore Pogradec, this campaign closed the four-year project ‘Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region’, coordinated by UNESCO in partnership with the authorities of Albania and North Macedonia, ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM, financed by the European Union with co-financing by the government of Albania.