The ecological situation in Moscow is deteriorating so dramatically that the capital and its surroundings are dying not only dozens of species of animals, but even cockroaches. The population became more ill, cancer turns into a real disaster. Are we heading towards a real environmental disaster or destruction of Moscow nature can still be stopped?
The main environmental problems of the city – air quality and water, waste dumps, radiation, and lack of environmental consciousness of the officials. Hence the record levels on the incidence of cancer.
“The fines we have an incentive”
“The incidence of the population of Moscow cancer in 2012 was above the national average by 14 points”
Green space in Moscow remains very little. On the one hand, housing the offices of the allocated budget money to create lawns in yards, so that it is even beneficial to greenery in the area was more. But pictures from space, explain the environmentalists, does not give the real picture: the fact that the top appears green on the surface of the city can be another bald wasteland under the trees.
“In the early 90-ies of a Muscovite had about 22 square meters of natural areas in 2010 – about 16 square meters. From satellite imagery taking into account the local plantations half of the territory of the city covered with greenery. Using detailed maps that can look each on the Internet, I analyzed what happened in my neighborhood in the South-West of Moscow. When Luzhkov point construction “ate” about 10% of green, for three years, when Sobyanin under the asphalt left about 1.5% of the unsealed areas. Between 1990 and 2015, the total area of greenery has decreased by 8%, and the number of residents has almost doubled. This is happening all over the city”, – cites the example of environmentalist Alexei Yablokov is a corresponding member of RAS, doctor of biological Sciences, Professor, the author more than 450 scientific papers in the field of population biology, ecology, radiobiology and environmental protection.
Yes, in Moscow there are conservation areas occupying about 16% of the city area. It is a national Park of Federal significance elk island nature and historical parks, for example, Moscow, Vorobyovy Gory reserve, the Setun river valley. “This is a very high figure for cities in other cities such specially protected natural territories do not. And this is the merit of the former management of Moscow”, – said the Chairman of the expert Council of IHO nature protection and managing editor of “the red book of Moscow” Boris Samoilov newspaper VIEW. But this does not help the situation. The expert explains that once the territory occupied by Moscow, was completely in the woods. But gradually, under the onslaught of civilization the climate in the Moscow area began to change: now it is not a forest, and steppe. In the end, for example, fir, that cannot live in such a climate begins to die. “Our region has become warmer than even the Oka, in the Tula region. Trees lose their immunity, get sick, can’t resist disease and harmful insects, so we see in the woods so many dry dead trees,” says Samoilov.
Well, the fact that Moscow has increased at the expense of the annexed territories, Boris Samoilov and does believe “a monstrous environmental crime.” “For the sake of profit given for development of forest and agricultural landscapes near Moscow up to the Kaluga region. But from there comes to us a fresh air – this is the rose of the winds, the South-West wind predominate. And always in the old days, many decades ago the task was to maintain around Moscow forest-Park zone and in the South-West direction, nothing to build. Now, on the contrary, there is active deforestation. It’s already a disaster, not urban planning. We eventually get to the metropolis in which every year becomes more and more dangerous to live” – outraged by the ecologist.
The trouble still is, Samoilov says that even in a city periodically there are cases where unscrupulous developers are sacrificing green “lungs”. And the punishment for illegal construction and causing damage to nature – miserable.
“Now in the Bitsevsky forest in the depth of the array with a firm without any documents and permissions to begin construction. Began to dig the foundations for multi-storey residential buildings. Residents, deputies were indignant, appealed to the Prosecutor, failed to stop construction, he says. – This area will restore, but the problem is that such violations have not only no one put, but even with work not removed. If people cause harm, commit a crime against natural or legal persons, it will be put, maybe in a decent time. And if you’re in the river pulled the muck and poisoned all the fish or in the forest illegally built the house himself, if you have the money, you will give a bribe and to pay off. Even the fines as a punishment rather an incentive”.
“Positive foreign experience”
The Moscow river has long been in need of cleansing and restoration. The authorities decided to improve the water area of the city to clean the river of contaminants and to develop the quays, turning them into a single socio-cultural area. Is a good idea. But environmentalists are concerned again. The fact that a similar project with small rivers of Moscow failed. The budget has been allocated considerable funds for the rehabilitation of the Setun and Yauza. But after implementing this program, the status of all of the rivers has deteriorated sharply. “Instead of solving the issue with the vents and drains, there is destroyed all riparian vegetation, replacing it with stone banks – broken granite with a mesh or palisade. Earlier on the banks grow willows, cattail, reed, water purified. Any river has the ability to cleanse itself, but only in the presence of riparian vegetation, because it is the most effective natural biofilter”, – says Boris Samoilov.
Eventually the water became dirtier and superheated in the heat, because the stone Bank perform the function of the Russian stove – give the water warm. “The water began to rot, rivers has died all the fish. And I very much fear that the new program with the Moscow river made in the likeness of the program on small rivers. This is really going to kill her” – going through the expert.
Positive foreign experience is: was resuscitated Rhine, restored the Thames, there is now even salmon fishing. But, explains Samoilov, our specialists don’t want to learn, and environmentalists is not connected to the implementation of such programs – I’m afraid. The fact that an ecologically oriented project is inexpensive. No need to put acres of the tile, pour expensive concrete. And, therefore, fail to generate a lot of money from the budget. “A tactical victory, as the Bitsevsky forest, there are, but the strategy is lame. Until we change strategy we rely on” he said.
“Waste management is a profitable business”
“Moscow is the only capital city in the world, which has nuclear reactors”
Another beach of the capital of the landfill. Unlike Western Europe, the issue of waste we have still not been resolved. “Recently, we launched a project, in which we call on the mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin to organize separate waste collection in Moscow, thus solving the problem of landfills and hazardous waste incinerators”, – said the head of projects of the toxic program “Greenpeace” Nina lesikhina the correspondent of the newspaper VIEW. But this proposal is not accepted.
But near Moscow continues to grow a huge landfill mountain is visible from the ring road. “There are brought all the waste without sorting, including mercury thermometers, light bulbs, expired medicines, plastic and so on. All this under the influence of rain fall in the air, soil and poisoning the territory not only a dump, but around,” notes Lesihina. In addition, such use simply irrational. There is a concept of “zero waste” – waste production. European experts have estimated that 80% of the waste can be recycled to the extraction of useful secondary resources. From waste paper to make new paper, plastic, a new plastic bottle and so on. Why has she not applied?
“Solid waste management – a profitable business in Moscow trash the business of spinning billions of rubles – explains the situation Yablokov. – The volume of solid waste grow. Traditionally, they went to polygons, but these polygons have been overwhelmed”. “For example, 70% of aluminum cans of beer in the USA is aluminum from old beer cans. Some of the garbage after sorting can be burned to produce heat and electricity, but this is only a small part. Burn all or most of the debris, as sometimes proposed, is dangerous,” said Yablokov in an interview with the newspaper LOOK. Important point: all over the world this problem is solved by small and medium businesses, but we do not allow in this area.
“The only capital city in the world with nuclear reactors”
The worsening of the ecological situation in the city affects not only the people but also on animals. “And in other cities of Europe one can observe the reverse situation, where in the city you can see even wild animals – says Nina lesikhina. – We at the state level, environmental monitoring is not working, and the business wants to introduce “green” technologies”. The international center of biological diversity in cities, state in the preservation of flora and fauna in civilization, included more than 600 cities, but not a single Russian among them. Meanwhile, the diversity of species is one of the important indicators of environmental well-being of the city and quality of life of people. “The red book of Moscow” says that 50% of the species of animals and plants in Moscow and the Moscow region are on the verge of extinction,” says Samoilov.
Out of the city already extinct many birds, such as swallows that feed on insects in the air. Swifts no insects in the city not so scary: this is a quick birds that can find their food for tens of kilometers from the capital. Missing bats. Leaves and many kinds of insects, pollinating plants in the city is almost invisible bees, little bees.
However, there are pluses: missing cockroaches. “I was interested, but never found a convincing explanation as to why cockroaches have become a lot smaller over the past 20 years. Someone attributes this to the fact that the city is saturated with microwave radiation, says Yablokov. – Indeed, in Moscow more than 6.5 thousand base stations of cellular communication, some even according to official data the level of radiation is above acceptable. Perhaps the cockroaches were more sensitive to these emanations than man.”
By the way, about radiation. Moscow is the only capital city in the world, which has nuclear reactors. In Moscow and the nearest Moscow suburbs there are 11 research nuclear reactors, 20 large radiation-hazardous facilities. “Taken in the early 90-ies a decision to withdraw from the city nuclear reactors are not fulfilled, – said Yablokov. – And this year there was a scandal when a tender for radiation monitoring of the city won’t experienced “radon”, and some just created an unknown structure, promised that will do this monitoring for several million rubles is cheaper than the “radon”. Now in Moscow the quality of radiation monitoring no.”
“The first place for prostate cancer”
“All the major fires in the European part was only up to the border with Belarus. Why? Because there still remained foresters”
The current situation naturally affects the health of Muscovites and possibly generates more and more obvious manifestations of cancer. In Moscow there is a growing incidence of children and adolescents (including congenital malformations). Every ninth registered pregnancy ends in miscarriage, cites Yablokov. “Childhood morbidity for 29 diseases in Moscow in 2012 was above the national average (including diabetes by 33%, cancer 20%, congenital anomalies in psychoses). The incidence of adults in 2012 were higher in Moscow than in Russia on average, for 35 indicators. The incidence of the population of Moscow cancer in 2012 was above the national average by 14 points (first place in Russia in prostate cancer)”.
Environmental well-being of the Moscow districts are also different. For example, on emissions and pollution in the worst situation in the southeastern administrative area, and the best in Zelenograd. The quality of drinking water below the North-East, above – JSC and CJSC. Content in drinking water of cancer-causing substances, the worst – SVAO, the good of the South. Pollution of soils with heavy metals the worst – VAO, best – South-West. Total soil contamination is the worst situation in CAD, the best – in Zelenograd. In the specific area of ecologically affluent areas bad in TSAO and well in WAO. Vibration and electromagnetic radiation are the worst residents of the South, the most prosperous in this issue district of the northwestern administrative area. According to the specific area of the land stands in a residential area is the worst situation in CAD is best – in Zelenograd. “In General, if you compile the statistics, the worst district from the point of view of the ecological situation in the capital – the Central DISTRICT, and the good – SZAO” – sums up the apples.
Statistics could be more accurate if information was more accessible. “I have a feeling that, even knowing that detailed cancer statistics by Moscow administrative districts within counties hides, – said Yablokov. – Counties are very different in some diseases, including cancer. And it would be possible for the health indicators to determine the quality of the environment, where better to live from the point of view of ecology. But this does not work”.
To return the capital to the normal as green, environmentalists say, is unlikely. “In the Central district, we’re never going back to these standards – he’s already built up. In some other districts to back: 15% of the city is an industrial wasteland, they could be green, – stressed the ecologist. But they, unfortunately, turn into parks. Yes, and from existing parks otshivajutsja pieces – the Church need to build, the restaurant, the stadium”.
“All the fires to the border with Belarus”
It would seem that ecological thinking is the trend today. Moscow youth walks, rides bikes and roller skates, walking in the parks is refined, there are currents of ecological way of life, when the house refuse to use shampoo. But Yablokov believes that it is a fiction: there is a colossal construction in the green areas around Moscow, the city devours the region, in the mass, we cannot say that the society has turned to ecological thinking.
“This is not ecological thinking and environmentally camouflaged sonorous words short-sighted-consumer attitude to nature. During this time, without exception, all the laws in the field of conservation and environmental management have changed for the worse. An illustrative example is the renewal of the Water and Forest code. The ideology of these changes was that as fast as possible getting as much money for the forest. Since Peter’s time the “sovereign man” – the Forester watched the forest, protected him from fire and felling. In 2007-2008 were dismissed 90 thousand foresters, was eliminated state Avialesookhrana” – outraged Yablokov. Under the new Forest code private tenants should be engaged in protection and restoration of forests. Until 2007 the Forester could draw up protocols on administrative offences, and the court took them, but now such protocols can only be forest officials of high rank. “During the “summer of fire” in 2010 the fires were a surprising picture: all large fires in the European part was only up to the border with Belarus. Why? Because there still remained foresters, which extinguish the initial fire,” explains the expert.
“You have to understand that there is a tendency to take responsibility for the environment. It exists among certain segments of the population, and most are young. Often it is the people who are socially active, travel a lot, see how it works abroad, and want to organize the same in their own country, – says Nina lesikhina. – But the decision makers in our country making laws, environmental thinking is not there”.
Hence, according to the “Greenpeace”, the seal construction and deforestation, instead of developing renewable energy, the construction of waste incineration plants in the field instead of organizing separate waste collection. So ecological thinking is fashionable among ordinary people, but not among the decision-makers, officials, and legislators.