The problems of transboundary pollution areas in Uzbekistan

  • 15 Мая 2012, 12:12
  • 1694

One of the most pressing environmental problems in Central Asia is a cross-border land pollution by industrial emissions of the State Unitary Enterprise “Tajik Aluminum Company” (SUE “Talco”). This industrial giant is the only company in Central Asia for the production of aluminum and the main polluter of adjacent territories of Tajikistan and st1:country-region>Uzbekistan. It is located sixty miles west of Dushanbe near the town of Tursunzada near the border with st1:country-region>Uzbekistan. Only 18 miles separate the company from the densely populated northern region Surkhandarya. The plant was built in the seventies of the twentieth century and has been for over thirty years of intense pollution. Analysis of the wind rose shows that the predominant north and north-east direction and as a result of the principal amount of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere in the plant for 18 - 19 hours a day are carried by air flow in the direction Sariasiya, Uzun, Denau, Altynsay, Jarkurgan and other areas Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan, contaminating their territory.In the area of ​​the negative impact of the company are more than 1.1 million people in Uzbekistan. The design capacity of 517 thousand tons of primary aluminum per year, in fact, according to available data, is 350 - 400 thousand tons is about 70% of the design parameters. But it was enough for appreciable negative impact of industrial emissions SUE “Talco” on the air, agricultural land, flora and fauna, as well as the health of the inhabitants of the region. Annual emissions of pollutants SUE “Talco” in the atmosphere is on average 22 - 23 thousand tons per year. The main components of the emissions are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen fluoride and other harmful substances. The most dangerous ingredient of them is hydrogen fluoride, with annual emissions of about 122 tons. Thus, the dynamics of the average content of hydrogen fluoride in ambient air in Sariasiya area for the period 2006 - 2011 years. shows the excess of its maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of 1.8 - 2.0 times. In this case, the greatest concentration of hydrogen fluoride is observed during the summer months of MPC 3.4 times. Effects of high content of hydrogen fluoride in ambient air are the contamination of soil, water resources, reducing crop yields, livestock production, as well as negative effects on human health and gene pool of the population. This could see members of the delegation of the Parliament of Belgium, visited this ecologically dysfunctional region at the invitation of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan in February 2012y. Parliamentarians held a series of public meetings with experts in environmental agencies. At a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan, Belgium parliamentarians have received information on the measures taken by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to reform the agricultural sector, which is the largest sector of the economy of Uzbekistan, the state of which depends largely on the possibility of improving the welfare of the people, economic stability and balance in the consumer market. It was also given information on the establishment of the Republic Fund for Land Reclamation and the reconstruction of drainage networks, improvement of irrigated lands, which leads to a decrease in salinity, increase crop yields and improve soil fertility. Issues of joint search for solutions to problems of transboundary pollution areas Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan the Tajik aluminum producing company, inflicting significant damage to agriculture in the region. At a meeting with a delegation of the Parliament of Belgium in the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, have parliamentary group in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of Uzbekistan discussed a wide range of issues related to cooperation with the Parliament of Belgium to jointly search for solutions to transboundary environmental problems - the consequences of the Aral Sea due to irrational use of transboundary water resources and contamination of the territories Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan of industrial emissions SUE “Talco”.Belgium parliamentarians presented the booklet “Environmental disaster in Central Asia” and “Transboundary impact of the polluting substances emitted by SUE “Tadjik Aluminum Company” (Talco) (former Tadjik Aluminum Plant) on the population and environment of various areas of Surkhandarya province of Uzbekistan”, which shows all the data on the environmental situation in ecologically unfavorable regions of Uzbekistan. The attention of the Parliament of Belgium was drawn to the need for equitable and reasonable utilization of water energy resources in the region, especially the major waterways of the region - Amudarya and Syrdarya. In this regard, it was stated the need for binding international examination of the hydropower projects on rivers, including construction project of such large hydro as Rogun. These issues were discussed at an international conference on  “Transboundary ecological problems of the Central Asia: the application of international legal mechanisms for their solution” in November 2010 in Tashkent. They have become the subject of an International Roundtable “Current Problems of Environmental Safety and Health Protection: Role of Civil Society Institutions in Solving Them”  held in December 2011 in Tashkent. The result of these activities was the adoption of specific resolutions and decisions, which strongly condemns the construction of huge hydro facilities on the example of Rogun and the negative impact of SUE “Talco” on human health and the environment. Before the Belgium parliamentarian was brought Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan principled position on the inadmissibility of such large-scale construction of hydraulic structures in a seismically active zone without an independent international assessment that could lead to another natural and technological disasters, exacerbating an already difficult environmental situation in the region. In October 2010, Ecological Movement has been prepared and submitted in the request for Inspection Soviet of the World Bank to demand an investigation of these issues. In September 2011 Ecological Movement has sent to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon), General Director of WHO (Margaret Chan) and the Executive Director of UNEP (Achim Steiner) handling people of Surkhandarya region containing a collective protest against the negative impact of the SUE “Talco” on people health and the environment, signed by more than 757 thousand people of Surkhandarya region. In response to the received message to the Executive Director of UNEP on the possibility of conducting an independent investigation of transboundary pollution (such as soil, water and air), the impact on human health and the ecosystem, and identify sources of industrial pollution in the case of an appeal to the UN by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as opportunities for cooperation in the framework of the Initiative, “Environment and Security” (ENVSEC) c the governments of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in preparation of an independent assessment of the situation involving both the Uzbek and Tajik stakeholders. Head of Delegation of the Parliament of Belgium Philippe Blanchart agreed with the arguments on the Uzbek side, in particular, about the inadvisability of Rogun. According to her, Tajikistan, instead of planning large-scale projects should focus on the modernization of water and energy infrastructures in order to avoid loss of water at the expense of neighboring countries, to introduce an alternative environmentally friendly projects, without prejudice to the rights and interests of other states in the region. Supporting the proposal for cooperation in these matters, Ph.Blanchart said: “Small rivers merge into larger rivers, and people, together, can do great things”. Belgium parliamentarians visited of Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan, where the place got acquainted with the ecological situation in the region created by the area of transboundary pollution by industrial emissions SUE “Talco”. During the trip, a meeting was held with a population of citizens “Sufiyan” whose territory is located in close proximity to the location of the SUE “Talco”, its population is suffering the direct effects of industrial pollution of aluminum production. Dynamics of average content of hydrogen fluoride in ambient air in Sariasiya area for the period 2006 - 2011 years. shows the excess of its MPC of 1.8 - 2.0 times. In this case, the greatest concentration of hydrogen fluoride is observed during the summer months of MPC of 3.4 times. Consequently, the observed increase in the incidence of local residents and domestic animals, decreased crop yields in Sariasiya area. The object of visit, the delegation of Belgium was also a rural medical point “Babur” Sariasiya area, where they witnessed the effects of the negative impact of emissions from industrial production SUE “Talco” on the health and gene pool of the local population. The high content of fluorine in the emissions and other toxic gases - carbon oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur, etc. leads to serious health problems of adults and children with chronic severe disease. Out of the total incidence of the disease is dominated by the endocrine system, respiratory system, blood and blood-forming organs, the digestive system. The most serious adverse effects pollutants have on women's reproductive health. Under the influence of harmful substances in women is increasing the number of miscarriages and stillbirths. Toxic effects of high concentrations of fluorine promotes the formation of pathologies of musculoskeletal system, including increased calcification of the hip, especially in women, which leads to various complications during childbirth. As a result, children are born with a variety of trauma conditions. In general, these areas of Surkhandarya region incidence of both children and adults in the frequency of pathological disorders to 3.0 times higher than the average for the region.The delegation of Belgium visited, and the district veterinary department Sariasiya area, she was shown the consequences of the negative impact of emissions from industrial production SUE “Talco” on the health of domestic animals. Is of particular concern to identify high concentrations of fluoride in vegetables and fruits - from 11 to 19 and the MPC for wheat - 5.0 to 6.5 MPC. Consumption of animal plants with a high fluorine content leads to significant physiological changes in their body: violation of calcium and iodine balance, loosening and loss of teeth, deformation of bones, damaged joints, causing fluorosis, osteodystrophy, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets, and a high susceptibility to other diseases. The average weight of cattle in these areas by 15-20 kg less than in other areas of the region. Moreover, the research revealed the excess concentration of fluoride in milk from 9 to 13 MPC, and in excess of meat - by 10.9%. All these issues were discussed at a meeting of the delegation of the Parliament of Belgium in the Parliament of Uzbekistan with parliamentary group of the Ecological Movement and members of the Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of February 21 this year. Head of Delegation of the Parliament of Belgium Mr. Ph.Blanchart evaluating the results of visits to environmentally troubled region of Uzbekistan, who turned a negative transboundary effects of SUE “Talco”, noted that “the delegation focused on the study and coverage of existing water problems in the region. However, during a trip to Surkhandarya region, witnessing an unprecedented phenomenon associated with environmental pollution, which adversely impacted the health of all living things, and we consider it our duty to bring what is happening to the whole European community”. The more so that this situation has a direct relationship with the construction of Rogun as an additional objective is the production of energy to further increase production capacity SUE “Talco”, which is fraught with aggravation of an already difficult situation in the region. “In addition, changes in the hydrological cycle of the Amudarya river as a result of large dam construction will certainly lead to a shortage of water resources in the region, located along the river,” - said Ph.Blanchart. Member of the delegation Inge Vervotte noted that the Tajikistan government should first fulfill the necessary requirements to ensure the health of workers aluminum plant, the population of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan living in the affected area SUE “Talco”, finding mutually beneficial solutions to the health and welfare of the Tajik and Uzbek population on the basis of cooperation. She noted that this approach can be developed within the framework of future cooperation of the Ecological Movement, not only with the civil society of Belgium, but also to the environmental parties and organizations in Europe. Following the visit to Uzbekistan decided to prepare a resolution for the Parliament of Belgium with recommendations to address transboundary environmental problems associated with the possible consequences of Rogun in the upper reaches of Amudarya and the negative impact of emissions from aluminum production on the environment and human health Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan, as well as to include in the text of the resolution results of the visit, UNEP and WHO in ecologically unfavorable regions of Uzbekistan. An important result of the visit was to establish contacts and create a good foundation for further cooperation between Uzbekistan and the Kingdom of Belgium in the field of environmental protection.

 

B.Alikhanov,

Chairman of Executive Committee of the Central Advisory Panel

of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan

S.Sanginov

Deputy Chairman of Executive Committee of the Central Advisory Panel

of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan