The Town of the XXI Century
Series of reports on ecological situation in Central Asia
THE RESCUE FOR THE WORLD IS IN ITS
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
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
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
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.