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The Town of the XXI Century
Series of reports on ecological situation in Central Asia

THE RESCUE FOR THE WORLD IS IN ITS CLEANNESS

The sad statistics

Scientists and specialists from various countries, now accompanied by governments and communities have understood that it is not possible to solve ecological problems in one separated country. The developed countries are different from the rest of the world because they use more modern technology and that they have accumulated some knowledge of solving ecological problems. But, living in the same house, is it possible to consider one room as being "clean" while tens of others around it are "dirty". The problems of environmental pollution in general and pollution by solid wastes in particular are "hot" all over the world. And this problem has been named a priority n the process of development of the Nation-wide plan of actions for environmental protection aimed at securing stable development of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The current situation in Kazakhstan is so bad that, if it gets worse, it will threaten not only welfare, but also lives of the people. More than one fourth of the Republic's territory is uninhabitable because of tests at military testing ranges, because of the fact that plants and factories leave tones of toxic industrial wastes, and agricultural sector uses tons of poisonous chemical substances to fight bugs and weeds. Half of the pastures have been wasted because of expansion of deserts. 75% of crop lands are salted. In some of the regions the average life span of the people has decreased and now is 15-20 years shorter than in the developed countries.

Specialists-ecologists have determined that there are 20 billion tons of solid wastes left by industrial plants laying on the territory of Kazakhstan. Only non-ferrous metallurgy plants have left behind more than 5,2 billion tons. Lands used as storage places for non-ferrous metallurgy wastes total at about 15 thousand hectares.

Every year this "garbage collector" increases on the average by 1 billion tons. The largest part of harmful wastes (89%) is placed in special on-the-ground storage places. The largest shares of toxic industrial wastes are concentrated in Zhezkazgan region - 29,4%, East-Kazakhstan region - 25,7%, Kostanai region - 17%, Pavlodar region - 14,5%. These regions have always served as the Republic's items of pride, industrial giants were working here.

Currently it is not a secret that huge amounts of harmful wastes are dangerous for the nature and the people. They poison the air, water, rivers, lakes, seas and even the underground waters by such substances as mercury and arsenic

Twenty years ago "UNESCO courier" magazine has characterized ten of the main pollutants of the biosphere, which have harmful effects on the health of the people, on plants and animals. Let us remind about these main harmful substances, although it is known that there are many more of them:

CARBON OXIDE GAS - develops as a result of burning of all types of fuel. Increase of its concentration in the atmosphere leads to increase in the temperature, which can have harmful geochemical and ecological effects.

SULPHUR GAS - contained in the gas wastes of industrial plants. Causes the development of breathing system diseases, harms plants, dissolves limestone and some of the tissues.

NITROGEN OXIDES - create smog and cause the development of breathing system diseases and bronchitis especially among the new born. Cause abundant growth of water plants.

PHOSPHATES - are contained in fertilizers. The main pollutant of water in rivers and lakes.

MERCURY - one of the most dangerous pollutants of food, especially of sea food. Is accumulated in the organism and has harmful effects on the nervous system.

LEAD - added to gasoline. Affects ferment systems and substance circulation in living cells.

OIL - leads to disastrous ecological effects, causes death of plankton, fish, sea birds and mammalia

DDT and other pesticides - are very toxic for crayfish. Kill fish and organisms serving as food for fish. Many cause development of cancer.

RADIATION - in dozes higher than normal may cause development of cancer-related diseases and genetic mutations.

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