The Newsletter of
A Center for Coordination
Moscow, Russia -- Issue 5 - 6(05),
IN THIS ISSUE:
FSB: THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTALIST ESPIONAGE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
THE MINATOM WAR CHRONICLES
THE PIPE: THE BLACK SEA COAST FACES CORPORATE THREAT
THE WORLD HERITAGE OR ANOTHER HIGHWAY
TALKING DEMOCRACY IN BELARUS
A BREAK IN "URANIUM REPUBLIC" CASE
WORLD ACTION DAY AGAINST PLUTONIUM ECONOMY FOR NUCLEAR FREE FUTURE
TADJIKISTAN: WE ARE MAKING THE CHANGES
CHINESE GOVERNMENT IRRIGATION PLANS WILL DRY UP KAZAKHSTAN
ENVIRONMENTAL VIDEO SCHOOL
PEOPLE REJECTED MILITARY "GIFTS". IN COURT
FSB: THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTALIST ESPIONAGE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
On June 28 the Federal Security Service (FSB) officers searched apartment and laboratory of specialist in nuclear oceanology professor Vladimir Soyfer. Documents and letters were confiscated during the searches and sent for examination to the General Staff's Eight department. The FSB claims that Soyfer had violated rules for handling classified documents, as it was found earlier by Pacific Institute of Oceanology commission. The official statement on the action FSB promised to issue on the next week.
69 year old professor who is know undergoing a medical treatment in Moscow has not been arrested yet, but if the General Staff finds the papers secret, Soyfer will face charges of state secret disclosure. Professor's passport for foreign travel has been cancelled.
Professor Soyfer, head of the Pacific Oceanology Institute laboratory, has been working on the radioactive pollution of the Pacific, specifically he was examining the consequences of serious accident with nuclear submarine fuel in Chazhma Bay in 1985. It lead to death of 11 people and serious pollution of Japan Sea. He was also monitoring the situation around nuclear waste container dumped into the Japan Sea for years.
"Professor' Soyfer activities are posing a threat to the Russian state and its military security", - reads the search warranty based on order issued by FSB Department of Primorsky Kray head general Veryovkin-Rakhalsky.
"It seems that radioactive pollution problem from the nuclear fleet is a very sensitive issue for Russian security services. Look at the previous cases of Alexander Nikitin and Grigory Pasko - they were working on the same problem," - Sviatoslav Zabelin, co-chairman of the Socio - ecological Union (SEU) Council, stated in his interview to NTV channel on Tuesday, July 13.
On July 4 SEU circulated a Statement, saying that the last FSB action is another part of anti-environmentalist campaign.
According to Russian legislation, no environmental information, which includes information about the radioactive pollution might be classified as a secret. "The Federal Security is prosecuting those who really care about the safety of environment our people live in - instead of investigating cases of radioactive waste import and dirty industries transfer to Russia," - said academic Alexey Yablokov, another co-chairperson of SEU Council.
Unfortunately, the last developments in Russian Federation are indicating that military interests and secrecy are still prevailing over the population safety - at least for the Governmental authorities.
THE MINATOM WAR CHRONICLES
PR- attack: no one killed, newspapers injured
The nuclear dreams of Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy (Minatom) ran into SEU member strong opposition. Roaches to change Russian legislation currently prohibiting nuclear waste import into country received wide and unfavorable publicity, provided by environmentalists. Information exposing both Minatom dirty deals and greedy MP's eager to give green light to nuclear waste dumping in Russia in exchange to Minatom promised dollars rose public anger. One could hear even saleswomen discussing the issue using academic terminology and arguments.
Failed to pull the proposed changes through Duma quickly and unnoticed by public, Minatom had to do nothing but launch PR attack both on the SEU and on the issue.
Fortunately, the PR industry in Russia is not too sophisticated yet. Major means there are buying up journalists and/or space in the newspaper, and not much creativity is used while writing the black PR feature. It does not take too much experience to distinguish series of paid articles appearing almost simultaneously in several newspapers, having same structure, style, arguments, bias - and sometimes even coinciding words or sentences.
The Minatom PR attack was the case. Newspapers "Rossiiskaya gazeta" and "Nezavisimaya gazeta" were the stars of the show - in simultaneously published articles, not only words, but even phrases and paragraphs coincided.
The pitch of money scarcity in the state was used again, and the card of bribed greens was played as always. The general theme was: the good old Uncle Minatom wants to change the legislation just a little for a big common good - to allow billions of foreign hard currency flow into Russia... together with some tens of thousands tons of radioactive waste. This money amounts would exceed (and might replace) the long negotiated IMF loans. This great idea found appreciation of almost all Parliamentary fractions - everybody from Communists to Russia Our Home (except Yabloko) were happy about it. Only bad, unconcerned with the country's future well-being organization named Socio-ecological Union was negative and violent in its attempts to kill the wonderful initiative. Of course, it must have a big money behind... Surprisingly, this time some progress in dirty money search was achieved. Instead of foreign intelligence or corporations money another, native founding source was discovered. According to the feature in "Rossiiskaya gazeta", it was Russian oligarch Gusinsky who pays the salary to SEU for support in his war against Minatom chief Yevgeny Adamov. What made us really sad - the newspaper failed to indicate in which bank and on what account our salary was waiting for us. What a pity!
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" (ironically, in Russian it means the independent newspaper) was much more cautious in revealing SEU funding sources. The cautiousness comes with experience - "NG" has already lost a lawsuit brought against it by SEU Council co-chairperson Alexey Yablokov. "NG" lost twice - first time when Yablokov sued newspaper for the article "Bluffing with the nuclear suitcases" - the court decided that information in the article was not true and harmed Yablokov's reputation. Recently the court rejected appeal filed by "NG" and left the previous court decision as it was. It obliged "NG" to publish disclaimer printed in same font size and page (which means the front page).
Sweet dreams of Adamov: 10 thousand tons of nuclear waste annually
The stakes are high in this fight. Among the SEU "espionage" activity results is a copy of letter written by Adamov to the RF Prime Minister (Yevgeny Primakov at that time). In the letter Adamov tried to sell the idea of foreign NPPs waste shipping to Russia for treatment and storage. Fortunately for Russia, the NPPs around the world are producing annually as much as 10 thousand tons of nuclear waste. What would happen if all this wealth was shipped to Russia ...Wrong answer! Nor radioactive disaster would happen to the country and the population, as you may have thought. A big buck paradise awaits you! - don't miss your chance, Russia! At least this is what Adamov thinks: "This fuel waste treatment according to the market price scale would make form 10 to 15 billion dollars a year". Russian environmental legislation is the only obstacle for the age of welfare to come, Adamov thinks.
The SEU Anti-nuclear Campaign coordinator Vladimir Slivyak in his interview to Bellona WEB said that the letter to RF Premiere is just another example of active lobbying for nuclear waste import by Adamov.
Early this year US Energy Department Secretary Bill Richardson refused Adamovs' idea of US NPP fuel waste treatment and storage in Russia. The US "Minatom- unfriendly" position on the problem was confirmed by the US Embassy in Moscow representative Thomas Martens. "US are committed to the non-proliferation policy and thus... are opposed to US NPPs fuel waste shipping to other countries for treatment" - he stated in answer to the SEU request.
The letter to Richardson appeared soon after Minatom signed the secret memo with German and Swiss corporations on nuclear waste shipping to Russia for treatment and storage.
Russian environmental legislation prohibits radioactive material shipping to Russia and obliges Minatom to return waste of nuclear fuel treatment to the country of origin in 30 years.
Minatom proposes to distinguish terms "radioactive waste" and "nuclear fuel waste", which is proposed to consider as resource or raw material. This change leaves a legal loop through which nuclear fuel waste will be shipped to Russia. This little change leads to other, bigger step - lobbying for abolishment of President Decree prohibiting nuclear fuel treatment waste storage in Russia.
"Minatom is playing with terminology, aiming to turn Russia into nuclear dump. In reality, activities of the Minatom Chief Adamov is a subject for federal investigation and must be stopped immediately," - said Vladimir Slivyak.
Story of people's war against the corporate oil pipeline
The Black Sea was known to be a "cradle of civilizations" for thousands of years. And yet there are places remaining wild and beautiful. Surprisingly, some of them are close to populated areas - like 40 km long coastline between two Russian cities of Krasnodar region - Novorossiisk, which is industrial center, and Anapa - one of the last clean resort areas.
For centuries it remained almost untouched, as natural conditions were not favorable for human activities development. The land is mostly surrounded by mountains, and open sealine is not welcoming for ships. Heavy storms are quite often there, and even ships protected by Cemess bay in Novorossisk get often damaged and even sunk, while along the coastline there is nothing to stop smashing waves. Weather conditions are especially severe in winter, when the strongest Northern wind (called "bara" by the locals) is blowing. It forms something like tornado in the water, and this whirlpool sinks everything that gets in it.
The whole area is situated over the tectonic breaks, and the earthquakes are highly possible - regions' seismic activity index is 9.
The construction of oil pipeline through this area, continued on the seabed for 5 km and ending out in the open sea with a floating terminal pumping oil into tankers sounds insane. And yet this is the project that is pushed ahead by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.
Primary pipeline's capacity is planned to be 28 mln tons crude oil per year, with planned capacity up to 67 mln tons per year by 2014. The total pipeline length is 1500 km, it starts at the Tengiz oil deposit (Kazakhstan), and is planned to end near Yuzhnaya Ozereika settlement - right between Novorssiisk and Anapa. On the coast the pipe will split into three, each carrying simultaneously four thousand tons of oil across the seabottom to the floating terminal.
The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) was found in 1992 by the Governments of Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Oman Sultanate. In CPC shares are the following: Russia - 24%, Kazakhastan - 19%, Oman - 7%, Chevron (USA) - 15%, LUKoil (Russia) 12,5%, Mobil (USA) - 7,5%, Rosneft/Shell (Russia -the Netherlands)- 7,5%, Agip (Italy) - 2%, British Gas (Great Britain) - 2%, Kazakhoil (Kazakhstan) - 1,75%, Orix (USA) - 1,75%.
US money has lead in it.
In case of the CPC Pipeline project successful completion the tanker traffic in the Black Sea will double, experts say. But the tanker routes of the Black and Marmara Seas are already overcrowded, and accidents leading to oilspills are getting more and more often.
CPC pipeline terminal and oil storage facilities are proposed to be constructed near the Yuzhnaya Ozereika settlement, on the territory of Abrausski zakaznik, a part of designed Utrish Biosphere Reserve. It is a place where unique relict juniper forests, so scarce in the region, grow; valuable grape fields (of which world famous wine Abrau - Durso is made) have brought fame to the site. The coastline ecosystems will be severely damaged by the mere project implementation - the construction works themselves will leave nothing of once protected territory. The oilspills will be a complete disaster. The oil will also pollute the beaches of Anapa, one of the last clean children health resorts.
The crude oil coming from Tengiz deposit is extremely dangerous, containing high level of sulfur hydrogen, a very toxic and explosive gas. According to the project pipeline on its route passes several oil processing plants, having enough capacities to process crude oil and thus make it less dangerous. But obviously CPC shareholders are more interested to export raw product from Russia than to support national production.
The construction of special port for Kazakhstan oil poses threat on all countries situated along the Black Sea coastline: Black Sea is a closed-up aquatoria with limited ability of self-restoration and any accident there has a hard impact on its ecosystems.
Is there any real need for a new terminal in open sea susceptible to dangerous environmental conditions?
Novorossiisk is the largest oil-port in Russia with developed facilities and infrastructure. This port is situated in the Cemess bay, more protected from natural disasters and where oilspills are easier to localize and clean-up.
However, CPC does not consider an option of using the existing facilities preferring to construct new terminal on another place totally under control of CPC members instead of state - controlled port in Novorossisk. The other reason is that the current project is less expensive for CPC - the pipe going to Yuzhnaya Ozereika is shorter than the pipe to Novorosiisk. The CPC is simply saving money on environment and safety.
It seems that project safety is not major CPC concern. The CPC has insured their risks - in case of any pipeline damage the Consortium will get its money back. But no environmental risks are insured - this means that those who will really suffer from any possible breakdown will receive nothing in case of accidental breakdown.
The safety provisions of the project are highly doubtful. Despite the obvious danger of first serious storm or earthquake breaking the pipe and causing enormous oilspill, the project in its EIA part does not even have the assessment of maximally possible breakdown. The environmental impact part of the project looks more like commercial advertising for general public than serious study and assessment - only general claims on pipeline safety system.
These claims are hard to believe, especially for those who observed and resisted the CPC activities for several years by now. Lies, law breaching and violence are main features of CPC project from its very start.
To lure authorities and people into the project CPC had promised four thousand new jobs, 80% of which are supposed to be occupied by the people of Russia and Kazakhstan. But in reality already hundreds of foreign workers are moving currently to Novorossisk, leaving no jobs for locals.
Even before it became obvious that all the bright promises would be broken, people of Novorossiisk (at least 90%) and Anapa opposed the project. From their own sad experience they have learned that no oil project is safe enough to prevent spills that kill land and sea they live and depend on. People still remember the breakdown of 1997 when at least 800 tons of oil spilled into the sea. The clean-up took several months, beaches of Anapa and Gelendgic resorts were heavily polluted. The word "luckily" is hardly relevant here, but the oil got into Cemess bay, where it was easier to block and gather. The consequences would be much more catastrophic if the spill would have happened in the open sea, just like in a place where the new terminal is planned.
No CPC representatives nor authorities were going to take in account the local people opinion, despite the fact that realization of the project will alter the fate of the area, since port capacity is twice as much as capacity of currently operating oil-port at Novorossiisk (and the Novorossiisk operating oil terminal is largest in Russia) . Though, according to Russian legislation, public opinion is to be taken in account while designing such project. The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment requires referendum in cases of construction of large objects that may seriously affect the environment.
None of the players were excited to have local people expressing their opinion - the result of the referendum was too obvious. The CPC representative when asked to pay for referendum organization from CPC funds answered: "It is impossible for us to pay for the referendum - it is just the same as if we would pay for our own assassination."
Local people led by local NGOs, supported by international organizations like SEU are fighting for their rights. None of them is eager to save corporate money. The campaign against CPC lasts since 1996 - constant information campaign, public hearing, lawsuits, direct actions, attempts to set the public environmental review are among the activities taken by the outraged public. Lately environmentalists managed to force the Novorossiisk Duma (Parliament) to issue permission to gather signatures for referendum setting. It took at least a year to overcome the opposition of different level authorities, influenced by CPC money.
The youth is at the forefront of the fight. Numerous direct actions were held, attracting people by no-compromise environmental spirit. The last series of actions held by "The Rainbow Keepers" and "The Rainbow Guerrilla" was called "The Pipeline Art Gallery". The show traveling along the coastline exhibited oilballs, plants, bird skeletons feathers, seaweed and stones in oil, oil concrete with dead fish. All items were picked up near the existing oil terminal. During the exhibition participants are handing out badges and leaflets inviting to support the referendum.
The militia, guided by CPC - sympathetic Administration is always aggressive towards environmentalists and sometime violent.
On July 2 another demonstration was held by the "Rainbow Guerrilla". Young people came from different cities of the regions. They were protesting against the marine part of the project, carrying slogans, handing out leaflets and gathering signatures near the building of Novorossiisk city Administration. The militia cars came, bringing more people than demonstration participants. At lest 35 militiamen were involved in operation against extremely dangerous criminals - boys and girls with slogans. Men in uniform dragged activist along the pavement to the cars, all films from photocameras were taken out, and videocamera of one of the journalists was broken.
Protesters were kept for 7 hours, their right to call the lawyer was denied. In the evening the court session was held. The court decision was administrative warning to all protest participants.
"The CPC is attempting to create on our land some kind of state of their own, out of any public control," - says Valery Timoschenko, an award-winning filmmaker from Novorossiisk, one of the anti-CPC movement leaders.
Indeed, the last developments are indicating that. Recently several citizens from local NGO "Greens" were stopped by CPC scary-looking guard while attempting to walk along the coastline. "This is the CPC land," he said.
Couple of days before that the city Administration head first deputy Vladimir Sheiko said the same words - "This is the CPC land..."
"We thought this is Russia," - said one of the local people at the moment.
The construction works - illegally - have already started. The CPC is clearing off the unique juniper forests in the area, however, they do not want anyone to witness it. The guards were trying to stop journalists that came to the place. Before that, militia men did not admit journalists from regional and central media to the ceremony of symbolic CPC cornerstone founding.
But is it really a CPC land? Do they really have legal rights to act like that?
The answer is "no". And this answer is known also to the authorities that are so eagerly protecting corporate interests instead of protecting population and state interests what they are obliged to do. According to the Russian legislation, no activities might be taken before the project receives positive state review conclusion. The CPC representatives are claiming that the project has passed the review successfully. The truth is quite different - but let us quote the document.
"...Experts constitute that the reviewed CPC oil pipeline system is a large, technically complex and potentially harmful object, which objectively will be a constant source of pollution not only in case of breakdown but also during the routine operation. (page 16)...
...In case of breakdown oilspills are leading to pollution and are dangerous for Anapa beaches. The only way to preserve the Anapa resort is to prevent oil discharges and 100% safe system for oil discharges into sea prevention (page 32)".
...experts constitute that in the technical and economical justification of the project the potential harm to resort system and to economy (winery, fishery, forestry) in case of accidental oil spills has not been assessed."
No surprise - for the harm assessed in precise and definite numbers one has to pay in precise and definite money. That is what review conclusion says:
"...It is necessary to provide for insurance guarantees compensation of harm caused by CPC operation impact and in case of accident to population health, environment and property." As we said above, CPC insured only losses of their own.
The review was not positive. On contrary, it issued a set of recommendations, non which were considered and implemented.
The referendum on the project, as required by Law, was not held...
So - it is not a CPC land. This land belongs to local people. This land is a part of Russia, where Russian laws are in force. And according to them, CPC is acting illegally and all its activities are to be stopped - until all requirements are met or decision on terminal construction ban is made.
PEOPLE THERE NEED YOUR IDEAS AND SOLIDARITY!PLEASE SPREAD THIS INFORMATION AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE
For more information contact Valery Timoschenko,
THE WORLD HERITAGE OR ANOTHER HIGHWAY - t
UNESCO is considering option of placing the North Caucasus (North -East Black Sea region) on the World Heritage list. The UNESCO expert commission worked there from June 7 to June 15 to evaluate the compliance of the area with the criteria of World Heritage nomination terms. The commission chief - Martin Price (head of the Mountain Areas and Environment Protection program from Oxford university, GB) on the work results stated that Northern Caucasus definitely should be on the World Heritage list.
a tough choice for Adugeya governmen
Indeed, the proposed area is a habitat for more than six thousand animal and plant species, many of them are endemic (unique). The commission members themselves saw the richness of the Caucasian nature - during the expedition into the depth of Caucasian Biosphere Nature Reserve they observed numerous wild animals, even the bears.
The area planned for nomination includes the Sochi National Park and the Caucasus Biosphere reserve (situated mostly in Krasnodar region and Adugeya republic). Special commission interest was attracted by Lagonaki Plateau - an example of very specific landscape and unique nature system. Part of the plateau is a traditional nature use area for local people - their cattle is grazing there. Before the commision visit it was proposed to exclude this area from the nomination, but the nature use turned to be very modearate. Besides that, the areas of traditional nature use are included into many World Heritage List territories.
Unfortunately, not everything is going smooth and easy - obviously the Adugeyia authorities (republic where the Lagonaki plateau is situated) are not excited about being part of the World Heritage.
Instead, they are pushing ahead the project of the highway that would become the major obstacle for the area to be included into the World Heritage. Road Lagonaky - Dagomys planned by Adugeya republic authorities will go through the territory of Caucasian Biosphere Nature Reserve and will damage irrepearably unique nature system protected in Caucasian Reserve.
The road is planned over the Lagonaki plateau and Caucasian Biosphere Reserve highland area - this means heavy use of explosives to make the road across the mountains, not to mention "regular" construction related works and traffic of the construction machinery. The impact of such activities on the protected nature complex hardly needs explanation.
The SEU of North - West Caucasus, strongly supported by local population, has been campaining against the project for several months. Thousands of local people signatures were gathered protesting the project, numerous actions were held, dozens of publications appeared in the media.
The people outrage with the project, together with desire to protect their nature heritage, has also a legal basis - the road construction is illegal according to different RF laws. Local government insists on highway construction hoping to attract traffic flow through the republic. In officials' opinion, benefits from the traffic outweights the benfits of having internationally protected nature area.
Up to day the major attraction for people was unique nature of the region. It is highly questionable if anyone will be attracted to stop and see gas stations and fastfood services instead of wildlife.
TALKING DEMOCRACY IN BELARUS
Anyone following the last developments within FSU knows that democracy is a word hardly relevant to some of the countries, and Belarus is among them. Its even in the air of Minsk, the republic capital, giving almost a physical sense of what is going on.
That is why only under the auspices of OSCE watch group and UN Office in Belarus the conference "Establishment of Civil Society within the Sustainable Development Context in Belarus" gathered by the Belarus SEU "Chernobyl" became possible. The issues discussed may sound routine outside the republic but for Belarus the conference was a brave civil action.
The country is poor. Can it afford a luxury of civil society - or is it an inevitable part of social development?
It's true, people are sick and tired of constant crisis. The once hated socialism for many of them on look back from the present turns into the paradise lost. Ill with socialism nostalgia, people are easy to manipulate for politicians going the easiest way - promises of "back to socialism" instead of real work on changes in country economy and political system.
Even more, peoples' consciousness, still unfree from post-soviet syndrome is again attacked by the totalitarian ideology in attempt to form mass controlled easily by the new dictatorship.
There is a need to define some goals and ideas that may gradually lead to changes in the situation, all participants agreed.
The totalitarian ambitions of current Belarus government are affecting both policy and environment. Belarus has suffered severely from the Chernobyl disaster. The non-infectious pathology and oncology cases are growing, as well as number of children handicapped from birth. Radioactive pollution is responsible for many of them. And yet the Belarus authorities, grumbling about the money scarcity for medical care programs, is planning construction of nuclear power plants in the country.
The BelSEU "Chernobyl" has developed its own program on population rehabilitation, for several years children form areas affected by Chernobyl disaster came to the sanatorium organized jointly with Japan physicians. For seven years BelSEU managed to publish own newspaper telling the truth about the post-Chernobyl situation in the republic.
Any civil work within Belarus is getting more and more complicated. Courage and luck to people doing their work there.
THE BALKAN TALKS
On July 8 the SEU Councul Chairman Sviatoslav Zabelin met in the SEU Moscow hedquarters Pekka Haavisto, former Finnish Minister of Environment, now the Head of UNEP and Habitat Balkan environment task force on Environment and Human Settlement.
According to Mr Haavisto it was important to know how the SEU members active in expressing their position regarding Kosovo consider the activities of this UN group. Balkan task force of UNEP and Habitat is aimed to investigate how the military conflict affected the environment and health conditions in the region. Balkan working group publishes its weekly activity reports available on Internet: http://www.grid.unep.ch/btf. By this October the Group is planning to complete its final report and to work out the recommendations for the elimination of the war consequences for those countries which will be involved in the Serbia national economy restoration activities.
A BREAK IN "URANIUM REPUBLIC" CASE
"The uranium case came to a break but is not stopped, so its too early to celebrate" - said Dmitry Rybakov, one of the protest campaign against uranium mining in Karelia leaders. We already wrote about the case in SEU Times, but let us give a short reminder.
The campaign against uranium extraction on the coast of purest European Lake Onega was launched in September 1998. SEU members in Karelia did their best to inform local people about the danger they might be exposed to if the uranium mining starts. They succeeded in having public hearings on the problem in Karelian Parliament and also insisted on providing public environment assessment of the project.
SEU antinuclear campaign aided Karelian NGOs in international protests launch. Head of the Karelian Republic Sergey Katanandov received letters from all over the world urging him to solve the problem. In the beginning of May he visited the site of uranium deposit in Srednyaya Padma. He talked to people of the villages close to the place. After that voyage the Head of the Karelian Government announced his decision not to give permission for the project now. Yet Head of the Republic ordered a detailed study of the project, providing comparative analysis of a technological design of uranium working and mining facilities that are used in Russia with ones applied in western countries. This analysis should also demonstrate how the mining activities would affect the environment in the unique European natural place.
WORLD ACTION DAY AGAINST PLUTONIUM ECONOMY FOR NUCLEAR FREE FUTURE
Second International Action Day "Stop MOX" was held in May 17 . An AntiMOX action is the initiative of SEU Antinuclear campaign. More that 50 cities all over the world participated in it at the same time. This action was prepared in cooperation with March 2000 for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament.
Thousand of activists went from Hague the place of the headquarters of UN International Tribunal to Brussels where the main office of NATO is located. The goal of action was to force NATO to implement the judgement of the International Court prohibiting production, accumulation and even the existence of nuclear weapons in the world.
The action informed people about the dangers of plutonium economy and about bad practices of USA and Russia in the process of disarmament. In Russia actions took place in Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Voronezh and other cities.
Ecologists appealed to Russian and US leaders to revise the priorities of demilitarization program. Joint Russian and US Address on nuclear disarmament and MOX fuel projects was presented to the participants of Special MOX Forum of IAEA in Vienna in May 17. This document was signed by main environment NGOs of Russia, USA and Canada.
TADJIKISTAN: WE ARE MAKING THE CHANGES
Tadjik NGO "For Earth" started new educational project "Children in emergency situations".
It is aimed to teach kids how to behave in accidents and nature disasters. It is going to be four workshops "Emergencies and natural disasters", "Earthquakes", "Mud flows and Floods", "Fire".
Target group for this project is 50 children from the one of Dushanbe schools. Young trainers will apply interactive methods untraditional for this kind of trainings in the Central Asia.
* * *
Dushanbe Student Nature Guard and NGO "For Earth" started lobbing the Convention on access to environment information. This document was signed by European countries at the Ministerial Conference in Aarhus (Denmark) the last summer.
Tadjikistan was among those countries that didn't join the Convention.
This NGO initiative is the first attempt to change the situation. "For Earth" wants to involve other green movement members in the activities to lobby convention adoption by Tadjikistan and following implementation.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT IRRIGATION PLANS WILL DRY UP KAZAKHSTAN
This spring Kazakhstan NGOs drew the attention of the State Government to the plans of China to use a part of Irtysh River flow for the irrigation.
Irtysh is a big Siberian river, its springs come from Chernyi (Black) Irtysh river in China. Irtysh flows through Kazakhstan and Russia, then conjuncts in to great Russia river Ob' which falls into Arctic Ocean.
It became known recently that President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev discussed this problem with Chinese leaders.
This project will complicate the ecological situation in Irtysh river basin. Environment conditions in the region even now are assessed as very bad.
According to the preliminary survey information China plans to draw out 20 per cent of the annual water flow. However in dry years numbers will go up as high as 50 per cent which means significant increases in pollution level of the Irtysh and Ob' rivers. This will also get worse the quality of drinking water for several Kazakhstan and Russian cities. The project will also lead to a climate change in Kazakhstan making it dryer and causing problems for water supply.
ENVIRONMENTAL VIDEO SCHOOL
"The video is everywhere, one simply has to see it. Some times, one frame tells more than and hour of text", - said Igor Alimpiev, director of photography from "Lenfilm" studio, one of the environmental video school trainers.
The environmental video school first session was held in May, it was initiated by Valery Timoschenko, head of "Aqiatoria" studio from Novorossiisk.
20 environmental activists and journalists from different parts of Russia came to the Black Sea coast to study shooting techniques, director of photography and producer work. Lectures and practice were lead by experienced cameraman and directors of photography from Lenfilm, Aqatoria and RTR studios.
The practical part - the field work was the favorite. Participants broke and five teams, each having an assignment to shoot and edit a 3 - 7 minute piece in two days. It resulted into 5 short environmental videos, all different, unique and interesting: about the local fishermen, about the Utrish reserve, about the Caspian Pipeline Consortium project and local people attitude to it, about the Abrau lake and about the oilspill of 1997 near Novorossiisk.
Environmental video is a part of environmental journalism, and thus its goal is to inform people, to help them in making decisions and protecting their rights. It must be professional, interesting and plain, the school participants think.
"Making of real environmental video is easier for group of people with the same ideas and devotion," - says Vladimir Anufriev from Ural. The network of envornmental video was formed during the school and future cooperation in evironmental story telling was agreed. The particpants dreams are joint environemntal TV programs and TV agency based on the network.
The next Environmental Video School session is planned for September. In order to enter the school video themed as "The land of my fate" is to be submitted.
MESCHERA PEOPLE: MILITARY GIFTS? - THANKS, NO!
Early May became a celebration of a victory over the industry for people of Kasimov, a town in Ryasan region (around 200 km from Moscow). Together with "Rainbow keepers" and grassroots organizations they have been campaigning against dangerous project since the last summer. Together with SEU Chemical Safety program leader Lev Fedorov (doctor in science) they brought up the action in the court against the local Environmental Committee. It's experts approved construction of non-ferrous metal waste recycling facility near Kasimov. The metal waste planned for treatment turned out to be highly toxic - as it was taken from military missiles.
Earlier officials decided to recycle that waste in two places. Environment experts in one of them didn't permit the treatment facility construction after the detailed study of the project documentation had been done. The decision was obvious as substantial part of information on the project was missing: incomplete technological design part, waste composition and utilization of toxic leftovers -the count might be endless. In general project kit contained more than 20 gross errors.
Nevertheless Kasimov (Ryazan' region was the second place to recycle military gifts) official experts were forced by the local authorities to approve the project under the threat from Ryasan' government to reduce dotations for the Kasimov region.
The assessment made by intimidated local experts was completely inadequate. For local people the trial was the last chance to defend their rights to breathe more or less fresh air (there is already one metal plant in Kasimov - soviet legacy).
"It seems that project designers are unfamiliar with essential chemistry things like dioxins"- pointed out Lev Fedorov. The dioxin contamination was the main danger coming from metal recycling plant, luckily avoided by Meschera people.
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