Industrial pollution needs to be resolved, Armenian minister and Arnika agreed

13.8.2018 - YEREVAN
Czech ambasador and Arnika during the meeting with Armenian Minister Grigoryan (left-center)
PHOTO: RA Ministry of Nature Protection

How the Armenian government could use the prepared analysis on the pollution in the North region to improve the situation, that was the main subject of an interview between Erik Grigoryan, Minister of Nature Protection and Czech experts. In particular, his office plans to optimize the monitoring system of emitted substances. The meeting on the impact of the mining of non-ferrous metals to local communities was realized thanks to Czech Ambassador in Yerevan, Petr Mikyska.

Armenia is concerned mainly with air pollution and its northern province of Lori is the worst in numbers. According to Minister Grigoryan, one of the main reasons is the insufficient environmental fees, which nowadays do not motivate the companies to reduce the amount of emitted substances.

"The problem was also the lack of proper monitoring system," adds Nikol Krejčová, coordinator of the Armenian project. Since this year, all mining companies are obliged to publish emission data every three months and in the Alaverdi Copper Smelting Plant, there is a continuous monitoring instaled. These data are publicly available on the website of the Ministry of Nature Protection in order to contribute to public participation in decision-making.

However, to what extent these figures are reliable cannot be estimated at this time. The Armenian government has recently asked its German counterpart for a mobile monitoring system to check the reported data. At the same time, the Ministry hopes for financial support from the European Union.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, Armenia, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, is ranked fifth on the scale of pollution mortality rates per the number of inhabitants. The government's eminent interest is therefore to analyze the impact of pollution on human health, Minister Grigoryan said at a meeting anticipating the analysis results eagerly. The soil and sediment samples are now being examined in the laboratories of the University of Chemical Technology in Prague. The findings are to be known in October.

Mediator of the meeting was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic in Armenia, Petr Mikyska together with his deputy, Jan Plešinger. The "Involvement of Civil Society in Decision-Making of Raw Materials in Armenia" project is financially supported by the TRANSITION Promotion Program of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Erik Grigoryan, such projects are welcomed and he also appreciated the involvement of local organizations Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment NGO and the informational portal Ecolur, which "contributes to increasing the effectiveness of the sectorial policy," the Ministry stated in an online press release.

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