Small Grants Program Kazakhstan

2015 (Mangystau)

Baskuduk citizens’ protection from negative environmental impacts of municipal waste landfill

Baisheshek / Baskuduk

Estimated number of pollution victims: 24,000 people

Baskuduk is the youngest village within the province – started to grow up only 10 years ago. Its location between uranium tailing pond Koshkar Ata and Aktau city municipal waste landfill represents serious environmental burden. Old waste landfill was officially closed down couple of years ago, because it does not comply with hygienic and technical standards. However, the authorities still did not establish any other waste utilization facility, and so this unacceptable and health-threathening landfill continues its operation. Within the project, all relevant documentation will be collected, and residents will be informed about current situation. Citizens will participate in preparation of Provincial Waste Management Plan, decision-making on location and technology of new waste utilization plant, and drafting local waste management scheme for Baskuduk. Waste prevention, separation, reuse and recycling will be widely promoted among the residents.

Environment of the settlement is in our hands!

Zhas Dauren / Baskuduk

Estimated number of pollution victims: 24,000 people

Citizens of Baskuduk, fast-growing suburb of provincial capital Aktau, suffer from its poor environment. The town with rare greenery is dusty, and poor waste management leads to littering and illegal waste dumping at free land lots. Within the project, active people will get a unique chance to get small trees for free, so they can make their yards greener.  Consequently, information campaign, including education of pupils and students, will be carried out to explain advantages of recycling organic waste from the households. In the land of sandy infertile soil, people can produce their own compost for planting. Competition “The Greenest Yard” will be announced, to encourage the residents in improving their environment. Possibilities how to make Baskuduk greener and cleaner will be discussed at the public hearing with participation of responsible authorities including local akimat.

Improvement of the environment in town Kuryk

Azhar ai / Kuryk

Estimated number of pollution victims: 11,000 people

Town Kuryk was found 40 years ago, and its infrastructure lacking necessary investments is in disrepair nowadays. The worst case is leaking sewage pipeline polluting the yard of neighbouring elementary school. Citizens also suffer from poor waste management. Because of lack of containers, residents often leave the waste in the bags in streets. Domestic animals cater on the waste, tearing up the bags, and the waste scatters within entire town. Public survey will be organized to learn opinion of the citizens, and information campaign to involve them in enforcing solutions of the most annoying issues. Special attention will be paid to woman and pupils. There will be negotiations carried out with the state authorities and elected deputies to find reasonable solutions. Citizens will also participate in drafting the town’ budget for the next year and enforce larger investments in measures to improve the environment.

Information campaign against illegal trade of saiga horns

Koldau Kazakhstan / Aktau

The project will be implemented at the entire territory of Mangystau Province

Population of antelope saiga living in Ust-Yurt Plateau is the only one in Kazakhstan. Its numbers are continuously decreasing, despite protection programme implemented by the government. The main reason is demand for saiga’s horns that are illegally traded to China for use in traditional medicine. The last 2,000 antelopes are surviving. Extinction of saiga has negative impact not only on the ecosystem of the desert, but at the end leads to the depletion of scarce pastures and damages local agriculture. Advertisements continuously appear in the streets of towns, offering purchase of saiga’s horns. Within the project, posters presenting information on saiga protection and criminality of its horns trade will be printed out and posted at public places. Information campaign will be carried out to discourage hunters from killing the antelopes, others from buying the horns, and state authorities to punish illegal hunting strictly.

2014 (Central and Eastern Kazakhstan)

Public monitoring of the air pollution in Temirtau

Otrazheniye (Reflection) / Temirtau, Karagandy Province

Estimated number of pollution victims: 170,000

In Kazakhstan, every year 200 kg of chemical compounds per capita are emitted in the air. The main reasons of serious air pollution are outdated technologies, violation of technological procedures and lack of investments in environmental protection. One of the most polluted areas is city of Temirtau, where heavy industry, energy production and other emissions sources are concentrated for many decades. One of the biggest steelworks on the territory of former Soviet Union – now owned by multinational corporation Arcelor Mittal – is also located in the town. Workshops on conducting public environmental monitoring have been organized for the public (25), pupils (150) and teachers (30 participants). 45 most active participants were trained as “the green patrols”. “The Green Line” has been opened for phone consultancy on environmental issues, operated by 10 trained volunteers – 148 queries were answered. In emergency cases reported by citizens, “the green patrols” visited particular hotspots and carried out measuring of air and water pollution by mobile monitoring laboratory.

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Illegal waste dumps impact on environment of Karaganda

EkoObraz / Karaganda, Karagandy Province

Estimated number of pollution victims: 500,000

Intense media campaign started the project, informing citizens of Karagandy Province about the threat represented by illegal waste dumping and littering. Initial meeting attended by NGOs, state authorities and educational institution has been organized (69 participants) and two workshops (34 participants) to attract the volunteers. 52 volunteers divided in groups were putting together a database of illegal waste dumps, and brochure has been published. The main result of the project is on-line map of illegal dumps on the territory of city of Karaganda and its surroundings with more than 80 objects with estimated area of 5,735 ha. Samples of water and soil were taken and concentrations of 24 chemical elements analysed. Information boards were placed at these sites. Two public awareness events “Lets Fill in the World with Cleanness” and exhibition of pictures of illegal waste dumps (200 visitors) were organized. All project results and necessary measures to fight illegal waste dumping were discussed with state authorities at the round table (22 participants). 30 articles and reportages were published in mass media.

On-line map of illegal waste dumps • More photos

Public involvement in remediation of tailings in Stepnogorsk

Institute of Human Health / Stepnogorsk, Akmolinsk Province

Estimated number of pollution victims: 70,000

Area of 500 hectares of dusty radioactive beaches – such is the condition of former Virgin Soil Mining and Chemical Corporation tailing pond. The largest in Kazakhstan and one of the largest in the world, it is located only 160 km from capital Astana. Tailing pond containing 45 million tons of fine radioactive dust can be “safe” only if it is constantly irrigated. The campaign started by the round table with local authorities and discussion with management of Stepnogorsk Mining Company, responsible for dangerous uranium mining tailing ponds. Samples of soil, brook sediments and food products were taken in surrounding settlements. Round table has been organized with participation of state authorities, private companies, and NGOs (27 participants including members of the parliament) to discuss the situation and ways of solution. As a result, intersectoral working group was established. Akimat of Stepnogorsk committed to publish information on environmental situation regarding the tailing ponds on its website. The company promised to inform the public about its plans for reclamation of the territory.

Report of Institute of Human Health • More information on the case • More photos

River Irtysh and heavy metals from metallurgic waste

Eco-Accord / Glubokoye, East Kazakhstan

Estimated number of pollution victims: 9,000

In the vicinity of Glubokoye town, slag disposal of Irtysh Smelter Company is placed. The greatest danger to the environment pose three slagheaps located at the very bank of river Irtysh – only ten meters from the stream. Besides that, fine dust threatens health of people living in surrounding areas. Territory of the slag disposal is not even fenced. All available information on the threat representing by the dumps of slug from local metallurgical factory for environment and public health was collected and analysed. The information was delivered to the citizens of village of Glubokoe and also nearby city of Ust Kamenogorsk – 10 articles were published in mass-media, 300 flyers were handed over to the people in streets. Samples of soil and river sediments were taken to investigate level of pollution. Public hearing on the issue was organized and 48 people participated – including local and regional state authorities, Civic Committee of East Kazakhstan Province and experts. Recommendations on mitigation of the risk represented by slug dumps were formulated and handed over to responsible authorities.

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Fighting toxic pollution of Northern Balkhash

Balkhash Environmental Centre / Balkhash, Karagandy Province

Estimated number of pollution victims: 30,000 people

Balkhash, one of the largest lakes in Asia, is an important source of fish. On the other hand, since 1930’s, copper mining and smelting industry operates at the lake, emitting heavy pollution. Also military facilities on the lake shore contain hazardous materials. Two seminars were organized to inform the public (126 participants) and 3 meetings in the most affected villages (69 participants). Conference to discuss the problems was attended by 21 experts, state authorities and institutions. Teachers were instructed how to inform about the situation during their classes (50 % of the students live in the villages affected by PCBs at former military base Daryal-U). The issue was highlighted at 18th and 19th Meetings of Balkhash-Alakol Basin Committee and recommendations were delivered to Akimat of Karagandy Province. Project team participated in development of Strategic Plan for Northern Balkhash and development of environment protection plans of two major industrial companies in the region. Information materials for the public were distributed (600 copies). 5 articles were published in local newspaper.

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International activities