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City Ranks Among Most Polluted in Russia

Published: June 10, 2008 (Issue # 1380)


St. Petersburg placed 85th out of the countrys 89 regions in a newly released rating by the Russian Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency.

To award a position in the rating, the experts assessed a range of factors affecting the state of the environment, including air and water pollution, changing ecosystems, the production and treatment of industrial waste, environmental protection efforts, accountability by local business communities and the endangered status and extinction of animal species.

City Halls continued lack of attention to environmental problems and its aloof, hands-off attitude have become an additional negative factor in St. Petersburg, the agency said.

Dmitry Artamonov, head of the St. Petersburg branch of the international pressure group Greenpeace, said City Hall does not simply turn a blind eye to the citys environmental plight, but vigorously pushes forward with dangerous construction and industrial projects which, if implemented in the intended form, further exacerbate the state of the local environment.

The massive land reclamation project on Vasilyevsky Island is particularly dangerous and it looks set to ruin the already damaged ecosystem of the Gulf of Finland, Artamonov said.

Turbid spots formed by the masses of highly contaminated deposits rising to the surface now stretch for many kilometers. The works have already led to the mass destruction of living sea organisms and, if continued as before, could potentially turn the Neva Bay into a stagnant body of water.

Ecologists argue that the construction of garbage incinerators advertized by City Hall as a progressive campaign will greatly contribute to air pollution in town.

Not only is incineration expensive rest assured that the fee will be incorporated into every residents monthly utilities bill but it is also hazardous, Artamonov said.

Toxic waste is not separated from the non-toxic trash and everything is burnt together. This means the process results in vast amounts of super-toxic dioxin emissions.

The nearby Leningrad Oblast enjoys 69th place in the rating, thanks to better air quality and the condition of ecosystems and animal life.

Kamchatka in Russias Far East tops the rating, followed by the Republic of Adygea in the Krasnodar Krai, the Republic of Tuva, the Buryat Republic and the Irkutsk region in Siberia.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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