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Environmental disaster at construction of the Olympic facilities in Sochi: Russian Railways poisoned the Dzykhra river in the Sochi National Park

Press Release
January 17, 2011

Runoff from the soil disposal from the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana road destroyed all life in the protected river

The YABLOKO party continues its monitoring of the environmental situation at the Black Sea coast, at construction of the Olympic facilities in Sochi. Since the public inspection of Sochi construction sites conducted by Sergei Mitrokhin jointly with activists from the North Caucasus Environmental Watch held in October 2010, the ecological situation has deteriorated.

According to Suren Ghazaryan, activist of the YABLOKO party and the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus, catastrophic pollution of the Drykhra river and its water storage reservoir began on January 8, 2011. The pollution led to mass death of fish in the river.

According to Suren Ghazaryan, activists of the Environmental Watch came to the site on January 19. They reported that the disaster was catastrophic. The Dzykhra River, which prior to the construction of Olympic facilities had been part of the special protected zone of the Sochi National Park, turned into a sewage ditch with the reservoir resembling a sewage pit.

The pollution began from the heaps of soil disposal from the tunnels of the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana highway. A huge dump of such soil was organised by the Russian Railways (RZhD) in the upper reach of the river, said an activist. The Environmental Watch had been repeatedly appealing to the corresponding authorities demanding to avert the disaster and organize engineering protection measures of the dump which had been built without environmental expertise. In November 2010 the problem of the dump was raised before the experts of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which recommended that officials should pay attention to this large threat to the ecosystem of the national park.

As a result, Rosprirodnadzor (Ed. the environmental control agency) suspended the functioning of the dump for ten days, however, this did not change the situation, and the Russian Rails continued to deliver thousands of tons of waste to the upper reaches of the river.

According to the available data, the soil extracted by drilling shows presence of chemical reagents that could cause the death of living organisms in the river and the reservoir. At present the contaminated water reached the Mzymta river, the main waterway of Sochi.

According to the activist, the Russian environmental control agencies, prosecutors, the state-owned Olimpstroy corporation, the Russian Rails (RZhD), and even the organizing committee of the Olympic Games "Sochi-2014" knew about the impending disaster.

"Once again it became clear that preservation of nature and health of local residents were the issues of no significance for the builders and officials who are only concerned about meeting the deadlines of the construction. This means that the whole Olympic Sochi may soon turn into a zone of ecological disaster," said Suren Ghazaryan.

After a visit to the Krasnodar Territory, YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin, raised the issue of environmental catastrophe in the region before the heads of the Russian Rails and the leaders of the country after his visit to the Krasnodar Area in October 2010. However, there has been no reaction from them yet.


See also:

Protection of Environment




Press Release
January 17, 2011

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