Today, every citizen of Ukraine should know that the environmental situation in the country is more that unfavorable for full and healthy life. It depends on us to a large extent, whether the situation will change or not. Shall we be irresponsive as we were before and, thus, dying nationally, or shall we ask relevant questions to the government and require not only answering them, but also acting vigorously in order to eliminate the problems harming our life.
Let’s take Dnepropetrovsk as an example and trace the way environmental issues are sold at a local level.
Chairman of the Social Movement of Ukraine
"For the rights of citizens to environmental safety",
honored industrial worker, academician of the Ukrainian Academy of Engineering, the International Academy of Ecology, Human and Environmental Safety
What interferes with health of Dnepropetrovsk inhabitants?
Above all, we should note that the essential information about the wholesomeness of the environment and its full monitoring in not available. Today, 11 stationary sites are installed in Dnepropetrovsk. Two of them belong to the sanitary and epidemiological station, nine – to the hydro-meteorological service. Notwithstanding the foregoing, only 6-7 indexes undergo the environmental monitoring, while in accordance with the Order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated 9 March 1999 “On approval of the Order of organization and monitoring of the environmental air protection”, there are 39 types of polluting substances subject to control in the city. To perform measurements, there are neither material and technical resources and personnel, nor sufficient financing. The soil pollution and surface-water contamination monitoring is deplorable as well. Regarding the control over radioactive (electromagnetic, ionizing, light) and acoustic radiation (noise, vibration, infra sound, ultrasonic), the government is very reticent on this and there is no monitoring thereof.
Accordingly, as there is no essential, complete and reliable information, the situation cannot be changed. As a result, none can be called in coram and nothing must be rectified.
In search of main pollutants
According to the State Statistics Service, nearly 56 thousand of economic entities are registered in Dnepropetrovsk; out of them not more than 400 entities are under the control of the Municipal Executive Committee. Certainly, not all the entities are involved in production activities or generate waste and pollutant emission. Nevertheless, isn’t the control over entities that might harm to the health of Dnepropetrovsk inhabitants and their life quality too much frivolous, is it?
Thus, Pridneprovskaya Thermal Power Station, pipe plant named after K. Libknekht, legendary plant named after Petrovskiy, plants Komintern and Dneportyazhmach, accumulator plants Ista and VESTA, 6 wallpaper factories, waste batteries processing plant Ukrsplav, Dneproshina, asphalt processing plants, Dneprokoks – are those entities, contributing to the environmental mess of Dnepropetrovsk to the utmost. Furthermore, over ten small enterprises of metallurgical refining of nonferrous scrap are operating in the city.
All of them are operating in the huge megalopolis, crowded with traffic and railway transport. All these facts result in the excess of maximum permissible concentrations of copper, zinc, lead, as well as pollution with gases and dustiness of the streets and dormitory districts, noises and vibrations. Add radon radiation contained in the soils, radioactive waste disposals within the limits of the city to the above factors. Their total exposure has daily negative impact on health of the citizens of Dnepropetrovsk. Enormous number of chronic ill citizens and cancer and tuberculosis increase is hardly to be wondered at.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, electromagnetic radiation sources are out of view, such as: cellular base stations and satellite communication sets, radio towers and TV aerials, various receiving coils and transmitting devices causing huge radiation danger.
In is unquestionable fact that there are many clandestine manufactures in Dnepropetrovsk and other Ukrainian cities. Often, their activities in terms of environment are most dangerous. Nobody knows what and how much waste they produce and what substances are discharged to atmosphere or spewed out into the water. Nevertheless, it is difficult to assume that employees of the regional sanitary and epidemiological stations and fire inspections are not aware of these enterprises.
What to do?
Today, all enterprises, discharging and generating harmful substances, runoffs and wastes should be under control. Facilities, causing radiation exposure (electromagnetic, ionizing, light) to the population, should be registered and strictly controlled. There are not 400, but thousands of these enterprises in the city. First of all, regional authorities and divisions of sanitary and epidemiological stations should have their say on the matter.
However, political decisions and intention of the city authorities to put things in the city right are above all. It is common knowledge that sanitation facilities at Pridneprovskaya Thermal Power Station, plant named after K. Libknekht and plant named after Petrovskiy are non-serviceable. Why don’t the citizens (directly affected by industrial emission) require from the executive committee and city council to establish a relevant committee and attract it to the activities of the public prosecution’s representatives, ecological militia, sanitary and epidemiological stations, public, and close the books on the issue?
Life paradox lies in the fact that the biggest threats and troubles are those under the cloak of the commonwealth or sneaked.
Isn’t it a national pride to have such operating enterprises as Ista or VESTA? Their products are in demand in the largest automobile concerns, foreign and Ukrainian enterprises, giving deserved preference to accumulators of these plants. Also, the number of created jobs speaks well for them. It is so, but an environmental part of their activities is extremely dangerous. It stands to reason that residents of Western Europe had strived for the shutdown of a greater part of similar plants in their cities. As to Dnepropetrovsk citizens, they are being convinced that they have derived a benefit.
Why Dnepropetrovsk is a leading city in Ukraine in lead soil contamination? The volumes of such contamination increased many times practically in the entire territory of the city during last five years.
Inhabitants of Severniy settlement are affected by lead emission. The enterprise that is a part of Ista Corporation engaged in the waste disposal of processed accumulator batteries has been functioning near the settlement during last 8 years (with capacity of about 20 thousand tons of lead alloys per year). The production was launched eight years ago; however, the issues of electrolytes and lead-containing slag recovery are still not resolved.
Putting into operation the second accumulator batteries utilization plant with the capacity of 40 thousand tons of lead alloys per year, may become a real trouble for Dnepropetrovsk. In fact, the plant is being sneakly constructed by VESTA Corporation. By combined efforts of both plants, over 70% of all processed accumulator batteries of Ukraine will be utilized in Dnepropetrovsk.
Until now nobody clarified to the public, scientists and ecologists an extent to which lead capacities being put into operation will affect life and health quality of the inhabitants.
For example, there is an expert opinion of the ecologists and physicians for the manufacture by VESTA Corporation of 2 million of accumulator batteries; nonetheless, nowadays the plant has capacities for the manufacture of 7 million accumulators. An expert opinion is available neither to public, nor to ecologists.
It would be reasonable to ask the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment: who agreed the increased capacities of the above plants and the construction of the utilization plant without public awareness of that fact?
Position of the city authorities
It is obvious that the city authorities aimed at filling the hole in the budget and solving vital problems of the citizens create a next myth about the construction of Dneprostal plant (Interpipe Corporation). Items appear in publications from time to time, where Dnepropetrovsk citizens are persuaded of the common good of the new plant: workplaces, introduced energy-efficient technologies, replacement of open-heart furnaces with electrical melting facilities, minimization of waste and pollutant emission to the atmosphere. But there is the other side of the coin.
Nowadays up to 300 thousand tons of metal scrap are used for the operation of open-hearted furnaces; it is planned to use more than 1,4 million tons for melting in electric furnaces. Thus, the new plant is being constructed at the left bank of Dneporpetrovsk under the guise of the modernization; its capacity will surpass the capacity of already existing plant more than fourfold. Due to the operation of the plant nearly 200 thousand tons of slag will be generated; its utilization may be problematic. In addition, increase of transportation volumes will create greater harmful physical factors load for the citizens. Burned gases of motor transport will intensify atmosphere pollution. As regards creating new vacancies, first of all, open-hearted furnace workers will need to be employed. They will not land on the street level.
One more point: all scrap metal used in the production is 3% contaminated with paints, oils, plastic. This is a raw material for the production of dioxin entering the air through pipes, as ecologists say. In one word, the dioxins producing plant may be built in the city.
Electric energy consumption will also increase from 120 million kW\h per year to 1,08 milliard kW\h. How many more times will the Prydneprovskaya Thermal Power Station burn coal and black oil fuel? Their cleaning structures are defective even now. What next, we wonder? The answer is evident. Air emission will increase significantly in the city.
As a result, the new plant construction will turn into additional environmental pressure.
As a conclusion
Basic factors of long and healthy human life are pure water, clear air, natural, rather than man-made impact of all types of radiation, maximum natural food, comfort living conditions. Historically, this is only we ourselves, who can provide for all these real amenities.