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Slavyansk: black smog, “red tail”

26. 8. 2020,
Slavyansk: black smog, “red tail”
Slavyanskaya TPP PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Slavyanskaya TPP is a thermal power plant owned by PJSC Donbasenergo and located in the Donetsk region – 15 km from the city of Slavyansk. Residents have been accustomed to TPP emissions since childhood. The majority of the population still works there today, because it is the only place for stable earnings.

Black smog is a traditional picture for every inhabitant of the city, but every second inhabitant works at Slavyanskaya TPP. “From any company operating, there are harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and the soil can be polluted. This can have a negative impact on the health of people living nearby,” said the medical expert. At the same time, environmentalists claim that Slavyanskaya TPP works in violation of established standards. “There are huge excess emissions of sulphur dioxide. The red colour of coal allows experts to say that the company does not always comply with the environmental standards,” says the technical director of the Ukrainian Scientific Institute of Technical Ecology. The ecologist is convinced that the installation of modern treatment facilities at the power plants is essential.

Automatic monitoring and recording of emissions

“In the Donetsk region, the environmental fund at the beginning of 2018 amounted to more than 900 million hryvnias. Part of the money is spent on the installation of automatic air suction and environmental monitoring. But another structure has to force entrepreneurs to install such sensors,” says Sergiy Natrus, the director of the Donetsk region’s ecology department. That means the Department of Ecology measures the level of pollution, and the Environmental Inspectorate must fine the violating enterprises and help solve the problem.

Work or health?

The position of the city authorities is as expected – Slavyanskaya TPP is a powerful enterprise that is a taxpayer to the city budget and the main place of work for the city residents. The authorities see the production process as imperfect, raise the question of the need to equip the company with additional modern electrostatic precipitators, but consider it as a technical point, not an environmental problem. According to the official resources of the city authorities, the ecological situation in the city is regarded as satisfactory. In the ranking of cities in the Donetsk region according to the index of the ecological situation in 2010, Slavyansk ranks 4th. In 2010, the total amount of emissions into the atmosphere in Slavyansk was 0,11% of all emissions in the Donetsk region as a whole (excluding SlavTPP). According to statistics, emissions of harmful substances by the roads are 4 times higher than the number of harmful substances from all operating enterprises of the city. Moreover, 75% of the total emissions of vehicles are emissions from passenger cars.

What’s in the air?

In June 2020, the Kramatorsk Laboratory for Atmospheric Air Pollution Monitoring took samples at two stationary monitoring posts in the city of Slavyansk and analyzed 384 samples to determine the content of substances in the air. 15 pollutants and 8 heavy metals were monitored. Extremely high or very high air pollution was not observed.

However, the residents of the city feel the emissions in the air and create initiatives, discuss issues and look for ways to solve the problem together with environmentalists, experts and cooperating organizations.

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.

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