Environmentalists: Main Challenge in Armenia Is Mining

Environmentalists: Main Challenge in Armenia Is Mining


On 5 June the world will celebrate the World Environment Day and the topic for this year is 'With Nature', which is devoted to the harmony of people and nature.

On the eve of the World Environment Day, 'EcoLur' Informational NGO President Inga Zarafyan and 'For Sustainable Human Development' Association President Karine Danielyan presented the environmental challenges in Armenia at the press hall of 'Noyan Tapan' news agency.

The speakers outlined mining as the main challenge, which results in Armenia depriving of its clean land areas, water and people's health.

'Armenia has 30 metallic mines, out of which 8 is being developed and it has 21 tailing dumps. One hectare of mining area pollutes additional 10 ha of area. Armenia is currently listed as a country with low water resources, which is a very bad indicator. In our rivers tail is flowing instead of water, for example, it's the case with Kartchevan, Akhtala etc... Mining is the business, which has serious problems with the open governance and it shall be accountable and transparent,' 'EcoLur' Informational NGO President Inga Zarafyan mentioned.

Inga Zarafyan brought the examples of Amulsar gold mine and Gladzor polymetallic mines in Vayots Dzor Region, which, on the one hand, pollute the nature and, on the other hand, annul the investments made into these areas.

'What are we losing in case of Amulsar – Jermuk, where investments of millions have been made and Lake Sevan, which is a guarantee of national safety, Vorotan-Arpa water basin, Kechout, Spandaryan reservoirs, and in case of Gladzor mine we are losing our 'Vernashen' wine brand. Besides, Vernashen community has many projects aimed at the development of agriculture. These investments have been made both by international organizations and the state budget. Whether we can leave these investments aside and open a mine, which has a high concentration of toxic elements?' Inga Zarafyan said.

'For Sustainable Human Development' Association President Karine Danielyan covered the health problems in mining. 'The Center for Ecological Noosphere Studies of NAS RA and the American University of Armenia have carried out studies, which showed environmental pollution with heavy metals. We have collected all these data on environment and health to reveal the zones with the highest risks - and they were naturally mining zones – Lori and Syunik. Besides, the Ministry for Territorial Development drew up regional development programs and the only region which has high morbidity rate among risks is Lori Region. Here the figures are very indicative,' Karine Danielyan noted.

The speakers covered also 'Clean Armenia' program mentioning that this initiative is certainly positive, but it doesn't solve garbage management problems.

'Clean Armenia' is a good program, but it has no connection with solid waste management. We don't have garbage management components. The loaning projects, which currently exist, are simply collecting garbage, establishing new landfill sites, but they do nothing in regard to garbage sorting and recycling. I can bring the example of plastic, against which the society has been fighting for several years, but to no avail. This problem shall be solved through certain measures,' Inga Zarafyan mentioned.

'I'm enthusiastic about 'Clean Armenia' project. It's impossible to develop tourism, when the country is covered with garbage.

Nevertheless, the objectives of our government are 'fighting' with each other – they want to develop mining, one the one hand, and agriculture and tourism, on the other hand,' Karine Danielyan said.

18:08 June 03, 2017

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