City Ranks Among Most Polluted in Russia
Published: June 10, 2008 (Issue # 1380)
St. Petersburg placed 85th out of the country’s 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 Hall’s 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 city’s 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 resident’s 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 Russia’s 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.Pages:  [2 ]