28 March 2014, Friday, 17:31
author: Elvira Latypova
Nearly 20 percent of Russia's total emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere are accounted for the Volga Federal District (PFO), which occupies an area of just six percent of the country. On Friday a report on environmental issues at the Council meeting under the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Volga Federal District in Ufa was delivered by the President of Bashkortostan Rustem Khamitov.
“Our district is on the first place in the country on oil refining, production of potash manure, and these are all complex environmental manufactures”, Khamitov said. “We take the second place on oil and natural gas extraction. The district is one of the leading manufacturers of fertilizers, synthetic resins, plastics, tires, caustic soda.”
The head of Bashkortostan outlined four major environmental problems of the district: high level of air pollution and water objects, a large number of objects with accumulated environmental damage, problems with organization of collection, storage and disposal of industrial waste and consumption waste, as well as inefficient use of forest resources.
Thus, according to Rustem Khamitov, the total emission of pollutants into the air in the regions of PFO exceeded 5 million tons in 2013. Their main sources are industry and transport. According to the President of Bashkortostan, it is necessary to create a modern system of environmental online monitoring to reduce the negative impact on the atmosphere.
In order to reduce the negative impact of transport it is important to convert actively vehicles to run on natural gas. Usage of fuel of high ecological class and traffic jams problem solution through the construction of roads and interchanges can decrease the harmful effects.
Another environmental problem is discharge of poorly treated wastewater: their annual volume in the Volga Federal District is more than 3 million cubic metres. According to Rustem Khamitov new treatment facilities should be built and existing ones should be upgraded, and most importantly — "we should intercept streams of dirty water — sewage from cities and villages."
The task of collecting and recycling of industrial and consumption residual should be solved by means of public -private partnerships.
In the Volga Federal District there are 65 objects of accumulated environmental damage. The President noted that "the costs of sanation of these territories are enormous", regions could not afford it, and the adoption of a federal program was delayed because of lack of funds.
“It is necessary to accelerate the adoption of the federal program”, Khamitov said. “And we need to formalize in legislation the concept of accumulated environmental damage.” In addition, regions should have additional powers of environmental control.