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Severodonetsk: a war for health

24. 8. 2020,

The problem of air pollution in the city of Severodonetsk and the adjacent village of Voevodovka is related to the activities of two asphalt plants: LLC “Severodonetsk Asphalt-concrete Plant” and the asphalt-concrete plant of the Kiev enterprise “Ukrainian Way”. The first plant is located 285 meters from the residential buildings in Severodonetsk, and the second one 100 meters from the residential buildings in the village of Voevodovka, although according to the current legislation, the distance should be at least 1000 meters.


Coordination of joint actions is necessary

Although Azot, one of Europe’s largest nitrogen and fertilizer plants, was closed as a result of the war with Russia, residents of Severodonetsk and Voevodovka continue to suffer from air pollution. According to preliminary estimates of environmentalists, emissions of phenol pollutants are almost 5 tons per month. This is a direct threat to the health of 562 residents of Voevodovka and 120,000 residents of Severodonetsk. Residential initiative groups, civic activists, the State Environmental Inspectorate in Luhansk area, and other state and local bodies and services are trying to influence the situation in various ways: from lawsuits to protests. But due to uncoordinated actions and insufficient information support, these attempts do not lead to significant results.

Environmentalists say the production is carried out without equipment to filter emissions into the environment. Given this fact, the Luhansk District Administrative Court granted the environmentalists’ request to stop the Severodonetsk Asphalt-concrete Plant, and the Court of Appeal upheld the ban. At the same time, the management of the city hall sees no problems and assures that the plant will only benefit the city.

What’s next?

In order to consolidate its efforts, the local crisis media centre is taking a series of measures, bringing together experts, government officials, activists and enterprising citizens around the problem of air pollution in the region. “We understand the value and importance of industrial enterprises – they provide people with jobs, pay taxes and improve transport infrastructure,” says Olena Nizhelska, head of the Seversky Donets Crisis Media Center. “But we cannot allow this to endanger the health of residents due to the high level of air pollution in the region. Our goal is to activate people, to find compromise solutions that will take into account the needs of all stakeholders and will lead to further reduction of air pollution,” she adds.


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).

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