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Chelyabinsk regional government is sampling oxygen of "polluting" enterprises

Chelyabinsk regional government is sampling oxygen of "polluting" enterprises

07.03.2012 — Analysis

Plants and factories located in the Chelyabinsk Region have reduced atmospheric emissions over the last seven years. Their owners have started spending more money on ecological activities and advanced technologies. The regional government authorities are strengthening environmental control, trying to make it objective and affordable to the maximum.

In the Chelyabinsk Region there are more than 15 thousand industrial facilities and companies polluting the environment. According to the data of the Regional Ministry for Radiation and Environmental Safety, Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Integrated Plant, Troitskaya GRES - a subsidiary of OGK-2, OJSC, Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Integrated Plant, OJSC, Ufaleynickel, OJSC, Karabashmed, CJSC and Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Integrated Plant, OJSC generate the largest amount of hazardous waste.

According to the data of the Department of the Federal Service for Supervision over Natural Resource Management of the Chelyabinsk Region, before 2003, the region ranked first among other Russian regions in the amount of industrial waste and ranked third in the amount of pollutants emitted into air by stationary sources (6.5% of the total amount countrywide). The recent years have been marked by a positive trend: The amount of atmospheric emissions decreased from 996 thousand tons in 2006 to 748 thousand tons in 2010. The air pollution index decreased 2.5 times in Karabash and 2 times in Magnitogorsk over five years. The number of the enterprises having a permit for pollutant emissions above the standard level was reduced from 42 as of 2002 to 5 presently operating enterprises.

Yevgeni Tyulkanov, an environmental auditor, thinks that these enterprises will also have to cut down their emissions. The government decided to give up the existing system of payments to the budget for excessive emissions, opting for environmental damage compensation. At the moment, it is discussing the methods of damage estimation. In addition, manufacturers will have to provide insurance for their environmental risks. If all these innovations take effect, environmental expenses of "polluting" enterprises are expected to increase 25 times.

Furthermore, after Russia joins WTO all those who intend to export their products will have to go through certification to prove their conformity to environmental standards. The conformity can be achieved only through one way: by complying with the regulatory requirements set for emissions and waste management. Russian enterprises will have to adhere to these requirements. Today, many of them are already investing sizeable funds in environmental programs.

Alexander Galichin, the Minister of Radiation and Environmental Safety, informed RusBusinessNews that in 2010 manufacturers allocated 1.9 billion rubles for reduction of emissions. By estimate, the amount spent on environmental measures in 2011 was as large: The Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Integrated Plant, OJSC, launched a water treatment biochemical system; the Troitskaya GRES completed revamping of one of the electrical filters; the Asha Iron and Steel Works replaced its open-hearth furnaces with electric arc furnaces; Lafarge Cement, OJSC, installed electrical filters and reduced dust emissions. Karabashmed, CJSC, intends to complete the construction of its second sulfuric acid treatment shop by 2016 to be able to utilize sulfurous anhydride completely.

Their efforts have already brought noticeable results. According to the data of the RF Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, based on the performance in 2009, 7 cities, including Karabash and Chelyabinsk, were removed from the list of the Russian municipalities having high levels of air pollution. On the other hand, Achinsk, Ivanovo, Kurgan, Nizhnekamsk, Novocherkassk, Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky, Raduzhny, Salekhard, Stavropol, Ulan-Ude and Chegdomyn were added to the list. The ministry reports that more than 54% of the residents of 40 RF constituent entities live in the conditions of high and very high air pollution: Moscow and St. Petersburg (100% of the population), Astrakhan, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, and Samara Regions, the Republic of Khakassia, the Khabarovsk Region, and the Chuvash Republic (more than 75% of the urban population).

The Chelyabinsk Regional Ministry for Radiation and Environmental Safety assesses annually the quality of air in the vicinity of the major "polluting" enterprises, defining the level of the technogenic impact of industrial emissions on the atmospheric air of the cities in the South Urals. Mikhail Yurevich, the governor of the South Urals, issued orders compelling industrial enterprises to take measures for provision of sanitary protection zones (SPZs); however, not all the enterprises have complied with the requirements so far. The Regional Ministry for Radiation and Environmental Safety, together with the Department of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare and with the Chelyabinsk Regional Public Prosecution Office, is working on delimitation and demarcation of sanitary protection zones.

Mikhail Yurevich also issued the resolution to organize an additional monitoring system to check compliance of enterprises with emission limits. The system combines the data obtained by supervisory government authorities and manufacturers. The data on emissions generated by the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant, Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Integrated Plant and Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant have already been included in the monitoring system. The enterprises monitor emission sources and their reports are placed at the website of the Ministry for Radiation and Environmental Safety. The Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Integrated Plant, OJSC, is planning to participate in this project. The information about Magnitogorsk and Karabash will be added to the database in 2012.

Valentina Mazharova, Vladimir Terletsky

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