Ukrainian civic network. Different industrial cities - similar issues
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    Petition "Clean Air in Ukraine"

    Before signing this petition, try to hold your breath for 5 minutes. Have you tried? Easy?

    Addressees of the petition:
    Parliament of Ukraine Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management
    Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources
    Ministry of Health
    Regional state administrations, regional councils, local governments

    Atmospheric air remained the only free natural resource. The composition of any product and information about its manufacturer is provided on the packaging of this product. So you can quickly understand what you are planning to put in your mouth. We consume air every minute, but we have no idea about its composition. We are forced to consume it as it is in our cities.

    We do not have the ability to choose air quality, we are limited in this choice, although we have the right to know about its composition, because it directly affects our health and life.
    Humans are different from other living beings on planet Earth because they have a choice. Air quality depends on our choice today.

    Air pollution is one of the key threats to the environment and human health of present and future generations. According to the World Health Organization, polluted air can lead to premature death and cause birth defects in infants.

    The main source of air pollution is outdated technologies used in heavy industry - coal-fired power plants, metallurgical or chemical plants. The example of the EU shows that change is possible and that the economy can be greener and more accountable to citizens. At present, we are forced to pay for the profits of several industrial oligarchs for the health of millions of people.

    Don't choose between air pollution and health, choose clean air and demand with us:

    1. Develop and implement an updated independent, reliable system of integrated state air monitoring.
      Concentrate monitoring management in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources with adequate funding. The results of monitoring should be published in the public space (Internet) in the form of primary data, as well as averaged over observation stations, zones and agglomerations. Develop and implement a system of operational warning, warning and regulation of smog.
    2. Introduce an open register of permits.
      The current procedure for obtaining permits for pollutant emissions is outdated compared to the current procedure for environmental impact assessment and access to related information. At present, the procedure for placing information contained in emission permits by enterprises is not legally established and regulated. Such a gap significantly restricts everyone's right to free access to environmental information, as required by the Aarhus Convention, and limits the opportunities for citizens to participate in environmental decision-making.
    3. Update environmental decision-making procedures
      The results of air monitoring should be the basis for issuing emission permits, reviewing and revoking permits and developing air quality control measures.

    Petition authors:
    Clean air for Ukraine www.cleanair.org.ua
    Anna Ambrosova - Stop poisoning Kryvyi Rih
    Iryna Pirohova - All-Ukrainian Ecological League, Zaporizhia
    Maksym Soroka - expert on air pollution, Dnipro
    Olesya Kramarenko - Dzyga, Zaporizhia
    Olena Shafranova - PravoE, Kryvyi Rih

    Help us collect handwritten signatures - they are more valuable! You can download the signature sheet here: Download petition








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      10 tips for health

      The most crucial thing when staying in areas with polluted air is to protect one's health. In the event of a smog situation, reduce outdoor activities. It is a matter of course to exclude any sport or outdoor games for kids. Do not ventilate excessively. Wearing a mask can protect you against fine particles.

      But how can one recognize a critical smog situation? That's a problem here.

      In European Union countries, the state provides continuous air quality measurement, whereas in Ukraine, responsibility is scattered across different authorities, and the information is usually unavailable to the general public. Ask at your municipality and demand that the city ensures air monitoring.

      Along with access to information, it is essential to enforce progressive legal rules and demand that industrial companies invest part of their profits in the modernization of obsolete technologies and observe the limitations in force. This is exactly what public organizations do in almost every industrial city. And you can support the initiative in your municipality.

      1) Regularly follow the quality of air in your city on the website cleanair.org.ua.

      2) In the event of severe air pollution, reduce outdoor activities to a minimum.

      3) Reduce airing and the opening of windows. Ventilate for just a short time.

      4) If you feel any health problems, do not postpone visiting your doctor and asking for a medical report.

      5) Consider installing an AirFreshMax station. The more stations that are utilized, the more accurate the data on air quality will be.

      6) Don't burn grass and leaves. Do not light an open fire.

      7) Do not use poor-quality coal for heating, and do not incinerate waste in a heater.

      8) Join the petition "Clean Air in Ukraine".

      9) Ask the municipality of your city to inform the citizens and solve the problem.

      10) Support environmental non-governmental organizations based in your city.

        Check your air with AirFreshMax monitoring station:

        AirFreshMax is a new generation air pollution monitoring station based on the "citizen science" concept, which is becoming popular all over the world. Where the state doesn't fulfil its responsibilities, citizens assume responsibility and do what needs to be done.

        The AirFreshMax air quality monitoring station is a device that allows monitoring and recording of the state of the ambient air, namely indicators of temperature, humidity and dust concentration PM2.5 and PM10 in real time. In addition to dust microparticles (PM2.5 and PM10), AirFreshMax monitors the concentration of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ammonia (NH3), ground-level ozone (O3) and volatile organic compounds (TVOC, VVOC).

        The AirFreshMax monitoring station was developed by experts from Ukrainian NGOs and is manufactured directly in Ukraine as part of social entrepreneurship. The AirFreshMax monitoring station is an improved version of the Oxygen station and provides an opportunity for every citizen to assess the content of the most common substances dangerous to human health in the air.

        The functionality of the device will allow not only to obtain real-time data on air quality, but also to accumulate large data for assessment and forecasting of pollution indices and risks to public health, using a personal account on the site eco-city.org.ua.

        This and other air quality monitoring devices are manufactured and tested by EcoCity experts in their own workshop. Production time is on average 1 week from the moment of the order (production, testing, calibration). After receiving, you can activate and configure the device using the manual on the site eco-city.org.ua. The station is powered by a standard USB adapter (5V 2A) that comes with the device. The length of the power cable is 7 meters.

        Use this form to order the equipment. The message will be sent to both the Clean Air team and the EcoCity team. We will then contact you by e-mail to confirm the order.

        *By filling out and sending this form, you consent to the storage and processing of your personal data in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. We promise that the data provided will not be passed on to "third parties" and will not be used for purposes other than the implementation of the Clean Air Coalition and its partners.

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            *By filling out and sending this form, you consent to the storage and processing of your personal data in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. We promise that the data provided will not be passed on to "third parties" and will not be used for purposes other than the implementation of the Clean Air Coalition and its partners.

            Coke Plant Killing Thousands of Kharkiv Inhabitants

            15. 8. 2017,
            Coke Plant Killing Thousands of Kharkiv Inhabitants
            Coke Plant Killing Thousands of Kharkiv Inhabitants

            Residents of the city of Kharkiv have suffered from extreme air pollution for many years. The most affected are the inhabitants of the Novobavarskyi district in the western part of the city. The two largest polluters are located in the valley at the confluence of the Udy and Lopan rivers: The Kharkiv Coke Plant, built in the 1930s with technology that is now extremely obsolete, and the Termolife Mineral Wool Plant put into operation in 2006. Both plants have the same owners. 

             

            The irritating odor, however, can be smelled far beyond the boun

            daries of the district. A poisonous cocktail, every day. The situation is worst at night when the smell finds its way into apartments even though their windows are closed. According to data published by the Kharkov journal (Civic Position) in May 2017, the plants emit more than 800 tons of poisonous substances per year: 240 tons of sulfur dioxide, 50 tons of hydrocyanic acid, 200 tons of formaldehyde and other carcinogenic substances. In this city with a population of 1,439,036, every year 6,000 people die of cancer.

            “In my house, 12 neighbours have died of cancer in the last 5 years,” says Elena Reshetko, a pensioner and resident of the Novobavarskyi district. She can see the Kharkiv Coke Plant from the balcony of the panel house where she has lived for 32 years. Reshetko encouraged many neighbors from the district to come together when she founded the Ekocid NGO in 2013. Since 2012 she has been trying to sue for damage to her health and violation of the right to live in a safe environment. Reshetko suffers from asthma, like her daughter. Her grandson was diagnosed with a blood disorder. However, the court hasn’t reached a verdict yet because of the lack of evidence of the link between the diseases and the pollution emitted by the plants into the air.

            Shocking diseases statistics

            Elena Reshetko has attempted to collect this evidence on her own for many years. Together with other activists, she requested official statistics from the Kharkiv clinics for different types of illnesses of adults and children in the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and then examined the situation in different parts of the city.

            When comparing Kharkiv Clinic No. 22 in the Chervonozavodskyi district (which is adjacent to the Zhovtenyi district, where the Kharkiv Coke Plant and Termolife are situated), with Kharkov Clinic No. 9 located 10 km from the plants, it turned out that occurences of pulmonary and bronchial disease in adults is almost 3078 times higher than those in the area distant from the city. For other diseases, the difference is 15-20 times higher. Diseases of the blood, skin diseases, the circulatory system and abnormalities in children in the affected area are 4 times higher than in the remote area. Children born with birth defects ranging from cerebral palsy, bronchial asthma, diseases of the circulatory system and deaf-muteness are 4.5 times higher per year in the area affected by the plants. Statistics for adult mortality demonstrated that death from cancer in the emission zone for the period from 2003 is 40 times higher, in contrast to the indicators of the remote area of the city.

            The inhabitants turned to the authorities, organized demonstrations, wrote petitions and open letters to the governor, and in 2012 they blocked the track used for bringing the coal to the plant. And even though this long struggle yielded no results, activists were soon being intimidated: Reshetko received death threats, and one the door of her apartment was glued shut. Because the plant employs about 700 people, not all the Novobavarskyi district residents who are exposed to extreme pollution support the activists.

            Rare mineral water used for coke production

            The experimental laboratory of Giprokoks (Гипрококс), a state-owned firm, was built in Kharkov in 1932 as a coke research center. Its ovens ceased operation in 1952, but in 2003 new owners began coke production once more. They illegally gained access to a rare Novozhanov mineral water deposit. Now, potable publicly-owned mineral water is used in large volumes for coke quenching. Located 8 kilometers from the Kharkiv Coke Plant, the Berminvody, Rosha and Ray-Elenovka sanatoriums have mineral water with a similar composition.

            Untreated wastewater from the Kharkiv Coke Plant issues from the back of the plant, which is guarded with armed security, polluting the soil of the territory of the mineral deposit and the Udy River. Thus we have a paradoxical situation where rare water is used for coke production, while ordinary Kharkiv people pay for drinking water at the price of 9.00 UAH per cubic meter.

            “The production is daily and uninterrupted. Dioxins, hydrocyanic acid, phenol, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, naphthalene, and other highly toxic substances formed during the coke and mineral wool production are immediately reflected in mortality statistics. The plants are situated in the lowlands, so dangerous substances accumulate in the valley and the inhabitants have to breathe them. We observe here all the symptoms of environmental disaster: pollution of the atmosphere, water and soil,” says Reshetko.

            The source of the drinking water falls under the State Geological and Mineral Resources Survey (Derzhgeonadra) of Ukraine, where the activists sent an official request for the release of contracts allowing access to the area of the rare water deposit, along with the necessary authorization. Derzhgeonadra replied that no rental permit or permit for the construction of facilities was ever been issued to either plant, and this was later confirmed by Oktjabr’s court in Kharkiv.

            In 2016, Kharkiv State Environmental Inspection carried out an inspection in the Kharkiv Coke Plant and noted a large number of violations of the law. However, the fine of 14 millions hrivnas has been never paid by the owners.

            Investigation on the Kharkiv coke plant case made by 24 Kanal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35aeOMvG534

            Clean Air for Ukraine

            This project is led by a non-governmental organization Arnika (Czech Republic) in cooperation with local civic initiatives in industrial towns of Ukraine with financial support from the Transition Promotion Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA). You can find more information about our activities and possibilities of involvement or share your thoughts with us by sending a message to info@cleanair.org.ua.

            Coordinators:

            Project partners:

            Donors: