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The Committee for the Protection of Muscovites demands the resettlement of residents from apartment buildings contaminated by phenol

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Over 50 people gathered today at the protest meeting organised by the Committee for the Protection of Muscovites by the Mayor's office in Moscow. Activists from the Committee as well as residents from the Metrogorodok district of Moscow participated in the meeting demanding the adoption of measures to resettle residents from phenol-contaminated apartment blocks, i.e. residential premises with covering made from materials emitting dangerous levels of phenol gas.

In the 1970s low-quality materials were used to build apartment blocks mainly in the eastern district of Moscow: they subsequently began to emit phenol which is very dangerous for the health. Increased levels of phenol were detected by multiple inspections and the environmental control services. One of the phenol-contaminated apartment blocks was resettled in 2002, and the Moscow government promised to resettle the other blocks: However, this has still not been done.

Moreover, according to statements from Moscow officials, the resettlement of phenol-contaminated houses is not in envisaged in the plans of the Moscow government in the near future.

The participants at the meeting demanded that the Moscow authorities fulfill their promise and resettle the residents of the contaminated apartment blocks.

The meeting began at Pushkin Square, as the authorities had banned protesting by the Mayor's office. However, despite the ban the citizens marched to 13 Tverskaya Ulitsa where the main part of the meeting was held. The protesters held signs that read, "Luzhkov, We Want to Breathe Air, Not Phenol", "Phenol Buildings Are Moscow's Disgrace" and "Stop Poisoning Us!"

"The Mayor should urgently resettle residents from contaminated flats, granting them new flats in compliance with sanitary and ecological standards, said Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Muscovites Sergei Mitrokhin. - We came here today to break through the solid wall of indifference which the bureaucrats erected between themselves and long-suffering Muscovites."

Our demands are absolutely constructive and clear, stresses the Executive Secretary of the Committee for the Protection of Muscovites Alexei Navalny. - We are asking Moscow government to acknowledge the problem and adopt decisions on the complex reconstruction of the Metrogorodok district including the dismantling of the "phenol" houses. We understand that the city budget is not limitless and are ready to participate in the development of such a scheme to enable the Mayor's Office to attract an investor to resolve this problem.

Despite the police actions the meeting lasted for almost an hour, whereupon the citizens peacefully left the meeting place.

See also:

Human Rights

Yabloko for Environmental Safety

The Moscow Times. July 22, 2004. 50 Protest Phenol Gas

YABLOKO created a Committee for the Protection of Muscovites to defend the interests of the residents of the city in city construction, Finmarket News, June 16, 2004
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