Nowadays ecological problems in our country and legal ways of solving it

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Қазіргі таңдағы өңірдегі экологиялық проблемалар және оны жоюдың құқықтық жолдары.docx

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I want to tell about Ecological Problems of Kazakhstan. There are many problems in Kazakhstan, but I think ecological problems are very important for our country and for people who live in our country. We must protect our environment, but now a lot of people don’t think about it. There are a lot of factories and production companies in Kazakhstan. And they are polluting air and land, and I think we must stop it, before they destroy our land. Many territories of Kazakhstan are suffering from not recycling of rubbish and from the air pollution. The last case was a few months ago, I think everybody knows what happened in Baikonur. Carrier rocket "Proton-M" with the upper stage DM-03 and three Russian navigation spacecraft "Glonass-M" which launched from Baikonur, fell in the first minute of the start. After this case there was a great air pollution in several regions of Kazakhstan, including in Kyzylorda. And about recycling, our country doesn’t recycle rubbish ( bottle, papers etc.) we take them and throw them in land. How do we solve these problems? I think we can solve these problems by the legal action.

The environment of Kazakstan has been badly damaged by human activity. Most of the water in Kazakstan is polluted by industrial effluents, pesticide and fertilizer residue, and, in some places, radioactivity. The most visible damage has been to the Aral Sea, which as recently as the 1970s was larger than any of the Great Lakes of North America save Lake Superior. The sea began to shrink rapidly when sharply increased irrigation and other demands on the only significant tributaries, the Syrdariya and the Amu Darya (the latter reaching the Aral from neighboring Uzbekistan), all but eliminated inflow. By 1993 the Aral Sea had lost an estimated 60 percent of its volume, in the process breaking into three unconnected segments. Increasing salinity and reduced habitat have killed the Aral Sea's fish, hence destroying its once-active fishing industry, and the receding shoreline has left the former port of Aral’sk more than sixty kilometers from the water's edge. The depletion of this large body of water has increased temperature variations in the region, which in turn have had an impact on agriculture. A much greater agricultural impact, however, has come from the salt- and pesticide-laden soil that the wind is known to carry as far away as the Himalaya Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Deposition of this heavily saline soil on nearby fields effectively sterilizes them. Evidence suggests that salts, pesticides, and residues of chemical fertilizers are also adversely affecting human life around the former Aral Sea; infant mortality in the region approaches 10 percent, compared with the 1991 national rate of 2.7 percent.

By contrast, the water level of the Caspian Sea has been rising steadily since 1978 for reasons that scientists have not been able to explain fully. At the northern end of the sea, more than a million hectares of land in Atyrau Province have been flooded. Experts estimate that if current rates of increase persist, the coastal city of Atyrau, eighty-eight other population centers, and many of Kazakstan's Caspian oil fields would be submerged by 2020.

Wind erosion has also had an impact in the northern and central parts of the republic because of the introduction of wide-scale dry land wheat farming. In the 1950s and 1960s, much soil was lost when vast tracts of Kazakhstan's prairies were plowed under as part of Khrushchev's Virgin Lands agricultural project. By the mid-1990s, an estimated 60 percent of the republic's pastureland was in various stages of desertification.

Industrial pollution is a bigger concern in Kazakhstan's manufacturing cities, where aging factories pump huge quantities of unfiltered pollutants into the air and groundwater. The capital, Almaty is particularly threatened, in part because of the postindependence boom in private automobile ownership.

The gravest environmental threat to Kazakhstan comes from radiation, especially in the Semey (Semipalatinsk) region of the northeast, where the Soviet Union tested almost 500 nuclear weapons, 116 of them above ground. Often, such tests were conducted without evacuating or even alerting the local population. Although nuclear testing was halted in 1990, radiation poisoning, birth defects, severe anemia, and leukemia are very common in the area (see Health Conditions, this ch.).

With some conspicuous exceptions, lip service has been the primary official response to Kazakhstan's ecological problems. In February 1989, opposition to Soviet nuclear testing and its ill effects in Kazakhstan led to the creation of one of the republic's largest and most influential grass-roots movements, Nevada-Semipalatinsk, which was founded by Kazakh poet and public figure Olzhas Suleymenov. In the first week of the movement's existence, Nevada-Semipalatinsk gathered more than 2 million signatures from Kazakhstanis of all ethnic groups on a petition to Gorbachev demanding the end of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan. After a year of demonstrations and protests, the test ban took effect in 1990. It remained in force in 1996, although in 1995 at least one unexploded device reportedly was still in position near Semey.

Once its major ecological objective was achieved, Nevada-Semipalatinsk made various attempts to broaden into a more general political movement; it has not pursued a broad ecological or "green" agenda. A very small green party, Tagibat made common cause with the political opposition in the parliament of 1994.

The government has established a Ministry of Ecology and Bioresources, with a separate administration for radioecology, but the ministry's programs are underfunded and given low priority. In 1994 only 23 percent of budgeted funds were actually allotted to environmental programs. Many official meetings and conferences are held (more than 300 have been devoted to the problem of the Aral Sea alone), but few practical programs have gone into operation. In 1994 the World Bank (see Glossary), the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency agreed to give Kazakhstan US$62 million to help the country overcome ecological problems.

Today Western Kazakhstan has become the source of great attention of international companies, politicians, scientists, businessmen who are attracted to the area by gas and oil. One of the largest companies founded here is Karachaganak. This project was started in 1992, when Kazakhstan’s government held tender for gas and oil extraction. Thanks to increasing of the extraction of natural resources, Karachaganak has become the leader in gas and oil industry. At the beginning of 2001 it was planned to construct a pipeline for another large project refining plant.

The new refining plant means real possibility for growth of the local economy, jobs for people and many other good prospects. On the other hand, it influences the environmental health of the local population and increasing danger of accidents. The regional Department of Environmental Protection foresees that discharges into the environment will increase three times. And what about poisonous pollutions in case of accidents and failures against which nobody can be guaranteed? That means the increasing of environmental discharges for everything alive. We can see from the example of our neighbors, Atyrau people living near the Tengis deposit. From the beginning of the joint venture’s activity - Tengis Shevroil (1993) 190 people died in the nearest village and it was reported that at the enterprise there were 65 deaths. Many of the people died of cerebral circulation dysfunction, cancer and heart attacks. It was mentioned in the ecologists’ account that the company didn’t undertake safety measures in gas burning. It was also reported that the compressor station which was put into the operation in 1997 didn’t work well because of drawbacks.

Meanwhile, the environmental condition and people’s health are evaluated by specialists as in danger . Inhabitants of the nearest village held unsanctioned meetings as a protest against deposit operators. In the Burlin region, the rate of disease is higher than in Oblast. Soil in 20 samples which was taken from different depths and places in the Karachaganak deposit contained less microbes than normal. From 11 soil samples taken from Bolshoi Grifon, four of them contained nothing and only two of them contained bacteria. It could be explained with the presence of oil and its influence on microbes’ growth. The soil smells like oil. Microbe studies in this region report that some of them, especially microbes under the influence of Karachaganak gas began to reproduce rapidly. That’s why without catching a cold you can get respiratory infections if you stay in the atmosphere polluted with sulfur substances and hydrocarbons. Useful microbes are destroyed but useless ones reproduce. Humus in this region is lifeless and nothing will grow on it. I think we, the growing generation, have to pay attention to this problem of Western Kazakhstan. Karachaganak development, increasing of drilling works and construction of refining plant demand public attention to Karachaganak enterprise.

Kazakhstan also faces the problem of urban pollution, particularly in its eastern cities, which receive harmful emissions from lead and zinc smelters, a uranium-processing mill, and other industries. In recent years, environmental activist groups in Kazakhstan have begun lobbying for tighter emission controls. Other environmental issues in Kazakhstan include soil pollution from the overuse of pesticides in agriculture and the increasingly polluted waters of the Caspian Sea.

Lead and its toxic compounds are dangerous environmental pollutants. The influence of these substances on the health of human beings, especially children, who are the most vulnerable to the harmful impact of lead, is worthy of special study, for the following reasons:

- lead is widespread (practically everywhere) in places where people reside;

- lead, even in extremely low concentrations in the environment, is capable of having a negative impact on children’s health;

- lead causes significant damage to the human nervous system, which has a negative effect on the intellectual development of the growing generation;

- the primary sources of pollution by lead and lead compounds are of anthropogenic origin, creating the opportunity, through the efforts of society, of regulating such pollution and decreasing the risk to health.

Lead and lead compounds are polytrophic poisons (that is, they act on various organs and body systems), and primarily cause changes in the nervous and circulatory systems, as well as disrupting fermentation reactions and vitamin exchange, and lowering immunobiological activity.

The majority of children subjected to the chemical impact of lead and lead compounds suffer from subclinical effects—that is, effects that have not yet appeared in the form of illness, but which already take their toll on body functions. The results of research show that poisoning by even small doses of lead leads to a disruption of motor and coordination skills in children (including hand-eye coordination), as well as of hearing and sleep, and a stunting of physical development (Perlstein, Attala; Bellinger et al.; Rabinowits et al.; NRC). In its publications, the World Health Organization has repeatedly emphasized that lead is of no chemical or biological importance for the human body. The illnesses caused by lead and toxic lead compounds have a negative effect on the development of society as a whole, since the number of highly gifted individuals is lowered, and the number of people with decreased intellectual abilities is increased (Lead and Health).

It has been discovered that an increase of 1 mcg/dl in the lead content of the blood of preschool-age children leads to a decrease of 0.25-0.50 points in the coefficient of a child’s intellectual development. In addition, the consequences of lead poisoning may appear many years later. For instance, as a result of the study of a group of children in whose blood increased levels of lead were found at the age of two years, disruptions in nervous system activity were discovered ten years later (Markowitz). At the present time, the threshold level of lead poisoning for preschool-age children is considered to be a level of lead in the blood equal to 10 mcg/dl.

The primary sources of lead pollution are discharges from industrial enterprises (Nazarbayev), leaded gasoline (Perlstein, Attala), and lead-containing paints and finishes used in construction and in the manufactire of dishware, toys, and other everyday objects (Bellinger et al.). Other sources also exist (for example, Ayurvedic medicines, traditional forms of cosmetics, and others), but these are encountered only in certain countries of the world.

For the Republic of Kazakhstan, the problem of lead pollution is especially urgent. Not only are deposits of lead ore refined within the country, but large metallurgical enterprises are in operation as well (the Ust-Kamenogorsk Lead and Zinc Combine, the Yuzhpolimetall company, and others). However, to date no unified program has been developed in Kazakhstan to prevent the effects of lead on children’s health.

An analysis of the extent to which the problem has been studied show that Kazakhstani scientists, over the course of decades, have conducted ongoing research into the hygienic aspects of environmental lead in various regions of the country (Granovsky). However, the majority of such studies have been devoted to individual regions or industrial enterprises. Moreover, as a result of the different laboratory methods used by various authors, it is difficult to compare the data obtained.

Kazakhstan Minister of Environmental Protection told about Kazakhstan’s ecological problems at the meeting with the representatives  of non-government organizations.

“The country accumulated over 100 million tons of solid domestic wastes, over 23 million tons of industrial wastes, including 12 technogenic mineral formations. They contain aolid organic polluters: chrome and heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium and zinc, “ said Nurlan Kapparov.

The minister noted that wastes recycling remains at the low level, despite of the annual growth of the wastes volume. Only 20 percent are utilized, where as in developed countries 30 percent of waters are recycled. Over 2.5 million tons of sewage are discharged into the country’s rivers annually. “ Water is not being recycled, the problem of access to fresh water is some regions is still acute,” he said.

The air is annually polluted with 3 million tons of industrial wastes from 42 major companies. This is 65 percent of all the emissions in Kazakhstan. All this is apart from cars emissions that are heaviest in Almaty and Shymkent.

Renewable energy sources, according to the Minister, are not being used or developed in Kazakhstan. Private business could have been involved, but there is no mechanism making such project feasible, he complained. The Ministry is planning to focus on major companies and significantly decrease the number of checks and audits of small and medium business and draw more attention to education problem: the country lacks professionals capable of ensuring ecological security at industrial facilities.

But it’s not a fact that our environment is going better. We must try to do our nature and environment clean and beautiful. It is not difficult to protect our country. We can do it together. We must think that environment is the most important thing in our life. If we know how to protect our land we have to learn our little brothers and sisters, because they are future of our country. Do for your country all best and you will never regret.

Sources:

  1. Physical Geography of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Atamura, 2008. ISBN 9965-34-809-Х.
  2. Kazakhstan's Gas: Export Markets and Export Routes, by Shamil Yenikeyeff, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, November 2008.
  3. Bissell, Tom (April 2002). "Eternal Winter: Lessons of the Aral Sea Disaster" . Harper's. pp. 41–56. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
  4. "The Giant Karachaganak Field, Unlocking its Potential" . Schlumberger Oil Field Review. Retrieved March 25, 2006.
  5. A. G. Kostianoi and A. Kosarev (16 December 2005). The Caspian Sea Environment . Birkhäuser. ISBN 978-3-540-28281-5. Retrieved 20 May 2012.

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I want to tell about Ecological Problems of Kazakhstan. There are many problems in Kazakhstan, but I think ecological problems are very important for our country and for people who live in our country. We must protect our environment, but now a lot of people don’t think about it. There are a lot of factories and production companies in Kazakhstan. And they are polluting air and land, and I think we must stop it, before they destroy our land. Many territories of Kazakhstan are suffering from not recycling of rubbish and from the air pollution. The last case was a few months ago, I think everybody knows what happened in Baikonur.
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