What has been achieved thanks to the Clean Air for Ukraine Project in 2020? What problems the cities had to solve and how? Read bellow about the results of the Small Grants Program 2020.
Information about the new round of Small Grants Program can be found (in Ukrainian) here.
Know what you breathe!
Good Will / Kharkiv
Approximate number of pollution victims: 50,000 people
The industrial zone on the border of Kharkiv, the second largest Ukrainian city, and the Dergachev district of Kharkiv Oblast is surrounded by residential areas. The major polluter is Kharkiv Thermal Powerplant 5, accompanied by a number of smaller industries. The areas that are most affected are the Pisochyn and Solonytsivka urban-type settlements, whose residents suspected the factories of emitting excessive amounts of toxic substances at night. There are no state air quality monitoring stations located there. Thus, four EcoCity civic air pollution monitoring stations were installed, and the first independent data began to be obtained. Two online round tables with the local authorities were organized (10 participants, 337 spectators) to discuss possible steps to reduce pollution. An article in the local media was published to inform the citizens. As a result, two new local civic initiatives focused on the environmental situation emerged – Pisochyn Alternative and Solonytsivka Alternative.
Action Green Protection
Dzyga / Zaporizhia
Approximate number of pollution victims: 300,000 people
Ukrainian legislation does not link air pollution with harm to human health directly. Those citizens who want to defend their environmental rights can theoretically submit a lawsuit, but they need to bring up evidence on their own. Dzyga, in cooperation with the Zaporizhia Human Rights League, analysed the relevant laws and published an overview of basic advice for citizens concerning which authorities to turn to and templates of complaints to different state authorities. A Sapphire-32 mobile station, developed for civic air pollution monitoring, was used to ascertain the levels of toxic substances in the air in residential areas adjacent to the industrial zone – the results aroused great attention of the public (article published). A round table with the state authorities on how to establish governmental air pollution monitoring and reduce the pollution was organized. Lectures, together with public discussions, were organized within the popular fair EcoForum Zaporizhia.
Know! Participate! Influence!
Stop Poisoning Kryvyi Rih / Kryvyi Rih
Approximate number of pollution victims: 600,000 people
Kryvyi Rih is one of the main Ukrainian centres of coal mining, metallurgy, and the chemical industry. Outdated technologies, some of them in operation since the 1930s, cause extreme air pollution. The activists addressed the president, Volodymyr Zelensky, during his visit to Kryvyi Rih and made him promise to investigate the situation in the Security Council. SPKR participated in 11 environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures for industrial operations and promoted participation in five public hearings among the residents; four articles were published in the media and thousands informed through social networks. The most controversial was a plan to build a new industrial dump for ArcelorMittal; 1,200 people signed a petition against the project. Public control of the decision making resulted in improvements to the projects and the implementation of stronger measures to protect the environment. In two cases, particular projects were rejected by the Ministry of the Environment.
Asphalt and air
Crisis Media Centre / Severodonetsk
Approximate number of pollution victims: 10,000 people
After the large chemical factory was closed down because of the occupation of Donbas, the air pollution in the town significantly decreased. However, the inhabitants of the outskirts of Severdonetsk and of the nearby village of Voevodovka suffer from the operation of newly opened asphalt plants. They are located only 100 or 285 metres from residential houses, although the minimum distance set in the legislation should be 1,000 metres – and not far from two local hospitals. Investigation of compliance with the permits that were issued and of the real impact of the asphalt plants on the environment was carried out (video) and four public discussions organized (86 participants). Four EcoCity civic air pollution monitoring stations were installed to measure the emissions. As a result, violations of the laws by both asphalt plants were proved. The responsible authorities were requested to take measures and enforce the law; CMC submitted the lawsuit and represented the local community in court.
Nikopol Clean Air Monitor
International Environmental Safety / Nikopol
Approximate number of pollution victims: 100,000 people
Five EcoCity civic air monitoring stations were installed in Nikopol and the nearby towns of Marganets and Pokrov. State pollution monitoring is not established in the region, although the largest European enterprises producing manganese concentrate and agglomerate for ferroalloy and metallurgical plants operate here. A series of six online and offline events, “Workshop to Make the City”, was organized to discuss strategies to improve the environmental situation (with 150 participants, including town councillors and officials). An online catalogue, “Environmentally Responsible Business”, was published to promote private projects to improve public spaces and inspire others (four online events, 120 participants). A writing competition was launched, resulting in 15 articles on air pollution and other environmental topics in the local media. A fundraising campaign collected 24,000 UAH and enabled the purchase of a Sapphire-32 mobile air pollution monitoring device.
Supporting the residents in defence of their environmental rights
Community Development Fund / Kramatorsk
Approximate number of pollution victims: 700,000 people
There are several large industrial enterprises polluting the air in Kramatorsk. In 2014, the situation worsened after the new owner of the Ferroalloy Plant started to use an iron blast furnace for smelting ferromanganese. In 2018, the residents began to share videos of massive clouds of coloured smoke coming out of the factory, but because of the non-existence of state pollution monitoring, information on the concentration of toxic compounds was missing. Five EcoCity civic air monitoring stations were installed. A Sapphire-32 mobile station was used for measuring excessive emissions together with a drone recording aerial videos (article). A number of articles were published in the local media and several requests to the state authorities were submitted. As a result, because of its non-compliance with the permits that had been issued, the factory was closed down for larger technical improvements.
The Small Grants Program is implemented within the Clean Air for Ukraine Project – cooperation of the non-governmental organizations Arnika (Czechia) and EcoCity (Ukraine), supported by the Transition Promotion Program of the Czech Republic and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA).