We're organizing seminars on air pollution in the industrial cities of Ukraine

A snapshot from the seminar in Zaporozhye
PHOTO: Ecoaction.org.ua

In the Ukrainian industrial cities Zaporizhia, Krivoy Rog and Dnipro, Ecoaction (Екодія) and Arnika NGOs held a series of seminars on finding ways to reduce industrial pollution. Their main objective is to create a platform to unite the efforts of local initiative groups and non-governmental organizations to improve air quality in industrial cities. In the course of the seminars, activists from different cities exchanged experience, established contacts with experts in the field of ecology, medicine, and other fields. The seminars were concluded with the preparation of a joint plan the fight for safe air.

The impetus for organizing the seminar was the terrible ecological situation in the south and east of Ukraine, the local regions are ones of the most polluted regions. In Zaporozhye, Kryvyi Rih, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Mariupol, social movements are being created to get industrial companies to reduce the release of industrial waste to the atmosphere and to make real data on immissions based on independent and high-quality air monitoring available.

Photogallery: Zaporozhye seminar on industrial air pollution

Olena Miskun, from Ecoaction, described successful Ukrainian implementation of international environmental directives as they did in accordance with the Association Agreement with the European Union. The expert emphasized that "the approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EU standards is a process that we can nothing but welcome. However, we must not forget that in practice we should not only take into account written laws but also control their compliance. Let us hope that in this process of approaching, Ukraine will not ignore this important component of the rule of law."

Arnika's expert Kateřina Krejčová spoke about the history of public protests for clear air that have taken place over the last few years against the ArcelorMittal metallurgical company in Ostrava: "Our experience has shown that it is in vain to combat the activities of an individual enterprise that operates exclusively under the law. Dialogue must be conducted with those who define the rules of the game - ie with officials, both at the local and national level," she said.

To the audience also spoke Maxim Sorok of the Dnepropetrovsk National Railway University on Permit Licensing Processes for Industrial Enterprises, Jaroslav Pershehuba of the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education on Serious Health Aspects of Air Pollution and Civilian Activist Olena Reshetko from Ekocid.net (Екоцид.нет) shared the experience with the practice of protecting the right to a safe environment and compensation for health damage.

A joint project by Ecoaction and Arnika dedicated to industrial air pollution issues helps local activists get the necessary information and coordinate them in the fight for clean air in Ukraine. Experts from the Czech Republic bring in particular experience and expertise to the project.

International activities