Small grants provided by the European Union helped local communities in Kazakhstan to solve environmental problems

Project:Illegal waste dumps impact on environment of Karaganda

Dust from abandoned uranium mine tailings, illegal waste dumps, the poisoning of river Irtysh by heavy metals, contamination of lake Balkhash, and severe air pollution. These are topics of the five projects that were financially supported within Small Grants Program which was coordinated by Czech non-governmental organization Arnika and its partners EcoMuseum and Centre for Introduction of New Environmentally Safe Technologies (CINEST) from Kazakhstan. The overall budget of EUR 12,000 was provided by European Union as a part of broader project "Empowering the civil society in Kazakhstan in improvement of chemical safety." The selected projects helped to solve environmental pollution which is threatening the health of about 800,000 people.

Within the Small Grants Programme, 47 articles in media were published, 4 public hearings were organized, 3 workshops were held, and 5 public awareness events were conducted. In total, 548 citizens participated. Today, organizations that implemented the local grants are meeting in Karaganda at the workshop with other civil society groups. They plan to discuss way to facilitate further cooperation.

"The best way how to solve local problems is to activate the citizens. Civic groups implemented small grants and showed their power and creativity when involving their neighbours and addressing responsible authorities. Their effort contributed to chemical safety and the improvement of the environment for the life of themselves and their children," says Martin Skalsky, project coordinator of Arnika.

"Our experts provided local groups with help in planning their campaigns, publicity, or by seeking ways of tackling serious environmental pollution. Now, we need to keep up the public pressure to enforce solution of revealed problems," stated Julia Kalmykova, small grants manager of EcoMuseum.

In total, 11 projects were submitted to the Small Grants Program from Karaganda, Akmola and East Kazakhstan oblasts. The requested sum of money exceeded EUR 30,000. Projects were assessed by the group of experts from the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, and Russian Federation.

More information:



Project title

Implementing NGO

Location and place of realization

Pollution victims estimation

Budgetprovided by the EU

Illegal waste dumps impact on environment of Karaganda


Karaganda/ Karagandy

500,000 people


€ 2,300

River Irtysh contamination by heavy metals from metallurgic waste


Glubokoe/ East Kazakhstan


9,000 people


€ 2,000

Public monitoring of the air pollution in Temirtau


Temirtau/ Karaganda


170,000 people

€ 2,220

Fighting toxic pollution of Northern Balkhash

Balkhash Environmental Center

Northern Balkhash / Karaganda


30,000 people

€ 2,500

Public involvement in remediation of uranium tailings in Stepnogorsk

Institution of Human Health

Stepnogorsk / Akmolinskaya


70,000 people


€ 2,000

International activities