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06.11.2012

Mariupol: Thousands protest against dangerous levels of pollution

   

On Sunday thousands of residents of Mariupol (Donetsk oblast) took part in a demonstration against the environmental situation in the city. They were protesting over the constant smog and stench from factories which hits you as soon as you go outside.  Banners read “Stop poisoning us!”.

What they are protesting about requires no translation –  http://www.0629.com.ua/news-23043.html - the video was made on 12 October with a video recorder positioned for an hour on a Mariupol high-rise.

Most of the factories in the city belong to the oligarch and up till these elections Party of the Regions MP Rinat Akhmetov.

The meteorological reports warn people of NMU [“unfavourable meteorological conditions”) making high air pollution likely.

As of 1 October 174 days this year registered NMU: there were 14 in January; 15 in February; 3 in March; 28 in April;  25 in May; 21 in June; 26 in July; 19 in August and 23 in September.  

It is hardly surprising therefore that the protest was joined by mothers with small children, young people, whole families.  Many wore gas masks.

At an emergency meeting with members of environmental NGOs the Mayor Yury Khotlubey asserted that he was in a difficult situation. While the city authorities were concerned by the environmental situation, he claimed that since the factories are in private hands, Ukrainian legislation does not allow them to influence those private owners.  He said it would be unrealistic to demand the closure of the factories since “the authorities are obliged to think about replenishing the city’s budget”, and some 40 thousand people could be left homeless.

He claimed that he could not give an answer to the question why, with statistical data suggesting a decrease in emissions, that the environmental situation in the city had sharply deteriorated.

An answer was provided by one of the organizers of the rally, Maxim Borodyn. He  says that the electric filters which are supposedly fixed at the factories are effectively not functioning despite assertions that they can’t be switched off.

From reports here

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