Pictures from polluted cities of Ukraine won the Czech Press Photo

21.11.2018 - PRAGUE
Maruiplo. Presumably city with the worst air pollution conditions of all Ukraine
PHOTO: Stanislav Krupař / Arnika

„This awarded document has been created only thanks to people from Arnika and their determination and willingness in performing overall monitoring of the environment,“ stated Stanislav Krupař, the winning photographer. „At the end of spring I was invited to their journey around the most polluted cities and while we were traveling from Charkov to Mariupol for ten days we took tens or even hundreds soil samples and river sediments which were later examined in Czech laboratories for the presence of heavy metals. The impressions, which I had from the scenes that we have seen during our journey, were like from a postapocalyptic horror movie. I do admire and appreciate Arnika for what they do. Keep going."

Stanislav Krupař received an award for the best reportage photographers of past year due to his series of pictures named „The Devastated East“. In the photos, he has captured everyday life of inhabitants of local industrial cities, who breathe toxical emissions from surrounding metallurgical factories during Arnika's field trip around Ukraine. The locals breathe poisonous air which is one of the most toxic in Europe. All the photographs were taken during the monitoring mission; the results of the analyses of the taken samples performed in laboratories of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, will be published by the end of this year.

The prize-winning group of pictures in the category Nature, science and environment shows the life of locals living around the giant power plants and foundries on the east of Ukraine – Mariupol, Dnipro, Zaporyzhye and Kryvyi Rih. Another Krupař's photograph (of a priest comforting women at a Moskow subway station) was also nominated in the category Everyday life.

See more pictures of Stanislav Krupař from Ukraine

In his speech during receiving the award, Krupař critically evaluated the position and working conditions of the Czech reportage photographers. Acording to his opinion, they do not have sufficient base which would support the systematic making of professional coverages of high quality. In addition, he thanked Arnika for being involved in the project on the east of Ukraine.

Ukraine is one of the most energetically demanding countries on the planet and in the entire world rank is the sixth biggest producer of CO2 per person. In consequence of industry the Ukrainians suffer from many diseases; therefore several tens thousands people die every year of diseases caused by air pollution in Ukraine. Per capita, it means that Ukraine is on the first place in this tragical statistics.

Ecological legislation is being violated on a long-term basis there. Even though the country started to follow European Union norms, progress has been too slow so far. This week the representatives of local citizens' associations are negotiating at the international conference in Ostrava and trying to take remedial actions in individual towns.

Congratulations and a sincere thank you to Stanislav Krupař for his beautiful (although gloomy) photographs and we wish you more sucesses to come!

International activities