The project of the County Section for Environmental Protection "Underground Istria" within the scope of Phare 2006 Interreg IIIA Slovenia-Croatia-Hungary Neighborhood Programme, has finished a few days ago. One of the purposes of the aforementioned programme was preserving and protection of speleological sites in Istria.
The implementation period of this project was one year and its value was in the amount of 136.936,00 EUR. During this period the waste was extracted from nine sites - Pazin cave, cave Polje near Katun Lindarskog, Brečevska cave near Tinjanština, Jamorina cave near Pazin, abyss Stancije Vergotini, as well as caves Štifanići near Baderna, Radoši near Višnjan, Golubinka near Kloštra and Dvori near the village which bears the same name in the vicinity of Poreč.
Bruno Kostelić, project's expert assistant, stated that 200 m3 of waste of different kind has been extracted from the abovementioned locations. He has also given a warning that animal corpses, medicines and plastic were found in these locations. According to his statement, the caves are directly connected with underground waters. Because of that fact, all content found can endanger the source of drinking water and have a disastrous effect on human health.
- Almost 70 percent of the Istria peninsula underground is covered in carts. Its limestone foundation is constantly changing under water. Water reacts with limestone in the way that many holes and cracks are forming. After that, water can flow freely through them. The primary consequence of these processes is formation of pits, caverns, caves and abysses which are constantly expanding and deepening, Kostelić stated. He also emphasised that in Istria exists approximately 2000 of such sites and that many of these sites have become locations for waste disposal despite the prohibition. Kostelić also stated that the exploration of the abovementioned sites without control can be the cause of their devastation and that their protection is very important due to the fact that many of them are directly connected with underground and surface waters and that they are habitats of many endemic and protected animal species.
- Many of these sites are unreachable to cavers since their entrances are covered with waste. The nine sites have been chosen which are, in accordance with the opinion of the cavers, the most covered with waste. Kostelić stated that the speleological associations from Pazin, Poreč and Vrsar took part in the activities in connection with waste removal and that the cadastre of Istria speleological sites has been established within the scope of this project. This cadastre shall be updated in the Section of Environmental Protection and Natura Histrica, which is responsible for management of protected areas in Istria. (source: Glas Istre)