Well-known Ukrainian environmentalist murdered
In Dnipropetrovsk Volodymyr Honcharenko, environmentalist and Head of the NGO “For Citizens’ Right to a Safe Environment” has died in hospital following a brutal attack. Mr Honcharenko was driving to his dacha when another car deliberately blocked the road, and was then beaten by the men who got out.
The attack came four days after a press conference on 27 July where Mr Honcharenko made public information about 180 tonnes of chemically contaminated and radioactive scrap metal in the Saksahansk District of Kryvy Rih.
Volodymyr Honcharenko’s friends and colleagues are in no doubt that the attack was the direct result of his professional environmental and civic activity. They say that he had on a number of occasions received threats.
The issues Mr Honcharenko raised included the production and use of components from car batteries (lead and acids); total contamination of Ukraine’s reservoirs and the quality of drinking water; issues connected with the nuclear power industry, the ore enriching industry and radioactive contamination; the use of domestic and industrial waste and others. His reports were always based on research which he and his scientific team carried out and were distinguished by irrefutable facts and compelling arguments.
“The environment’s worst enemy is indifference and incompetence, and sometimes also criminal inaction from officials responsible for monitoring an environment safe for people’s life and health. “
He was clear that one of the main problems in Ukraine was the fact that people don’t have access to accurate information, not only on environmental issues. In a recent address he pointed out that since 2005 Ukraine has not produced the annual reports on the state of the environment required by legislation.
Volodymyr Honcharenko’s publication – the newspaper ECO Safety – was the sole reliable source of environmental information in Ukraine with data, references and evidence used not only be the media and individuals but by central and local authorities.
Volodymyr Honcharenko was also a member of the Academy of Engineering Sciences and the International Academy of Ecology, Human Safety and Nature.
More about Mr Honcharenko’s work and the gravely disturbing conclusions he drew shortly.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Volodymyr Honcharenko’s family.