The Town of the XXI Century
Series of reports on ecological situation in Central Asia
THE RESCUE FOR THE WORLD IS IN ITS
"The hot spots" of Kazakhstan
"The hot spots" are usually those places where it is either difficult or
impossible for people to live. Places of military actions or wars are usually
the "hot" ones. Currently they are scattered all over the world. Luckily there
is no war in Kazakhstan, but there are territories, where people can die almost
like during the war time because of polluted air, poisoned water and soil.
Usually they are located close to industrial plants, military ranges. In reality
civilization costs a lot and industrial power of the country is often built at
the expense of the people's health, if, of course, no preventive measures are
taken. Specialists-ecologists have studied the situation in the Republic and in
accordance with their opinion the following territories are the most
The ones located near copper extraction and production plants, such as
Joint-stock company "Balhashmed" and JSC "Zhezkazganzvetmed", which are
surrounded by 8 storage places for leftover of rocks and ores, 4 tail storage
places and 3 slag storage places, where copper industry wastes have been stored
for many years. The tail storage places containing very harmful substances are
the most dangerous ones for people and nature These objects not only pollute the
soil, plants, but they are also carried by winds for tens of kilometers.
The ones surrounding Krasnooktyabr aluminium ore department of Turgai
aluminium ore ore-division, JSC Pavlodar aluminium plant. 4 collectors and slag
storage places are found.
In the republic there are 14 plants producing lead and zinc. The largest
danger to environment and people is borne by JSC "Akshatau konbaiytu kombinaty",
JSC "Achisai polymetal plant", JSC "Zhezkent ore-enriching plant", JSC "Irtysh
polymetal plant", JSC "Leninogorsk polymetal plant", JSC "Tekely lead and zinc
plant", JSC "Ust-Kamenogorsk lead and zinc plant", JSC "Shymkent lead plant",
etc. These plants have more than 40 rock leftover storage places and more than
30 tail storage places. Plants located in Irtish river basin are active
pollutants of water sources. For example, Zyryanovsk lead plant pollutes
Buhtarma water reserve. The near bottom stream of pollution has reached the
Buhtarma power plant dam and is thrown into Ust-Kamenogorsk water reserve. And
these are well-known places of fishing and recreation. Naturally, pollution is
spread further to Shulba water reserve and further to the very border of Omsk
oblast of Russian Federation.
The less water is in the region the more dangerous is the pollution. It is
necessary to have the minimal amount of pollutants to make the small rivers
As well known are the plants extracting and procesing rare metals and nickel.
Belogorsk ore-enriching plant, JSC "Kairaktinsk ore-metallurgy plant", Kimpersai
ore-division, JSC "Ust-Kamenogorsk" titan and magnesium plant. They have more
than 10 rock leftover storage places and as many tail storage places. Belogorsk
ore-enriching plant is situated over Buhtarma and Ust-Kamenogorsk wter reserves
and is potentially dangerous for concrete constructions of the dams.
Territories adjacent to the gold extracting plants. There are eight of those
plants, among which are JSC "Altaialtyn", Joint-venture "Bakirchik ore
extracting plant". About 20 rock leftover storage places and more than 10 tail
storage places are dangerous for the environment.
It is necessary to repeat that arsenic, lead, zinc and mercury contained in
industrial wastes are especially dangerous.
Wastes of the rapidly developing oil industry of the Republic are also
The wastes are usually carried in all directions. They enter the atmosphere,
they are found in water and soil. All over the world there are cities and
villages, which can be considered as winners in this silent competition "which
city is the dirtiest", or "which river has less fish". There are such winners in
The dirtiest atmospheric air
It is considered that the most polluted air is in Pavlodar, Karaganda and
Zhezkazgan regions. Large `contribution" into the atmospheric air pollution is
done by vehicles. For example, in 1994 all cars in the Republic threw into the
air 1,2 million tons of harmful substances, much of this amount consists of
carbon oxides. It was established that high concentration of carbon oxides
unbalances the upper layers of the atmosphere.
Do not drink the water - you may be poisoned
The most disadvantageous conditions are in Irtish river basin where extremely
high levels of zinc and lead pollution of the rivers Glubochanka, Krasnoyarka,
Breksy, Ulba, Buhtarma reach hundreds of maximum limits of concentration.
The greatest amounts of sewage are directed to the rivers Irtish, Nura,
Underground waters are also polluted. The largest concentrations of
underground water pollution are in the zone of Karaganda metallurgic plant,
production union "Karbid"(Karaganda region), Aktubinsk power and heating plant,
slag collectors of the production union "Himprom" (Zhambyl region).
The quality of drinking water makes you wish it to be much better. Especially
alarming information about quality of water comes from Kokshetau, Torgai,
Kyzyl-Orda, Kostanai regions.
Oh, my field, who planted … copper and lead on you!
Land resources of Kazakhstan are actively degrading, about 250 thousand
hectares of crop lands are removed from the use for agricultural purposes.
The sols of several regions of the Republic are polluted by industrial origin
pesticides and toxicants The highest concentration of pollution caused by
industrial plants have been formed around Ust-Kamenogorsk, Lininogorsk,
Zhezkazgan, Shymkent, Karaganda. Here concentration of lead, copper and zinc in
the soil reaches several tens of maximum levels of concentration.
The level of radiation is still high on those territories were nuclear
weapons were tested (Semipalatinsk, Aktubinsk regions) and were there are lots
of uranium abnormalities, ores and fields (Kokshetau region).
Who is going to clean up the garbage?
We would like to talk separately about the, so called, solid household
wastes, or about regular garbage, which accumulates at every apartment. This
theme is clearly understandable for each person living in a large or even not so
large city. After the crash of communist ideology, abundance of products
appeared in the stores, the prices became higher and the amounts of garbage
increased. It has become common to talk about the fact that during the new times
the garbage collection boxes are "guarded" not only by dogs and cats, but also,
by new poverty-struck people. There are rumors that it is possible to find lots
of valuable things in each garbage collection box. But this is not the point,
what is important is the fact the seemingly harmless garbage consisting of
various boxes of all kinds and shapes, plastic "fanta" or mineral water bottles
threatens to overwhelm the people together with all of their capitalistic
ideals. In civilized countries whole garbage recycling plants are built to fight
this problem. We have a lack of those so far. As it was stated last year in "The
ecological courier" newspaper by Mr. Ainagulov, the head specialist of the
Almaty city division of Ministry of ecology and biological resources, "there is
no complex organization taking care of collection and removal of solid household
wastes from Almaty" For people living in the city this means that they will
stumble at potato skins or cardboard boxes, which were thrown outinto the trash
boxes. "A serious problem is also represented by solid household wastes. They
mainly originate from large cities and towns."