Russia: Smoke

60 Percent of Russians Live in Bad Environment 

ITAR-TASS,25 November 2002

ByMikhail Petrov 

About 60per cent of Russians live in an unsafe environment.

A surveyconducted by the Russians president’s surveillance department jointly withoffices of presidential representatives in federal districts has found that theenvironment of almost 15 per cent of Russia’s territory, where about 60 per centof the population live, “does nor correspond to standards of ecologicalsafety”.
A “significant contamination of the atmospheric air and sources of thedrinking water supply” are seen in more than 40 Russian regions. Thedepartment said in its report, posted on the Russian president’s officialwebsite, that concentrations of harmful substances were above maximumpermissible figures in 207 cities with a total population of 64.5 million.
“The high content of harmful admixtures in the atmosphere negativelyaffects health of people. The chronic bronchitis morbidity rate of the adultpopulation has grown 1.7 times over the past five years and of the children’sone 1.5 times,” the summary said.
The presidential department’s experts said the quality of the drinking water inRussia was unsatisfactory.
Besides, fertility of land tends to decline and harmful substances accumulate init because of forest fires.
Another problem is decontamination and treatment of industrial waste posing athreat to population health and ecological systems.
“These factors along with irrational use of natural resources and a loweffectiveness of state control of environmental activity threaten to ecologicalsafety in the country,” the report said.
It said natural resources, economic and finance ministries failed to enforcefederal environmental programmes. Spending on environmental protection measureshas decreased more than 10 times as compared to 1999.
Federal authorities have not ensured the development of statutes to support theimplementation of the federal law on the environment.
The presidential surveillance department has proposed in its report that thegovernment send to the parliament a draft federal law stipulating fines forenvironment-polluting activities.
The department will present the results of the survey to President VladimirPutin and to the government.


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