Experts of the Right to Protection CF have developed and presented recommendations on the necessary measures that will help restore control over the environmental situation in Donbas and prevent emergencies in the region. These recommendations were developed during the implementation of the “Dialogues” project, which was attended by experts from both sides of the contact line in the Donetsk and the Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
Right to Protection CF continues to implement the “Dialogues” projects for the second year in a row. In 2020, the topic of the dialogues was the ecological situation in Donbas and the search for ways to improve it. And it was chosen for a purpose. Donbas is an industrial region and environmental issues have always been relevant there. However, from the start of the conflict some new environmental issues arose and have become threatening to all the residents of both this region and the Ukraine as a whole. In fact, Donbas is on the verge of an ecological catastrophe.
According to our experts, today it is impossible to ignore the problems in Non-Government Controlled Areas of Ukraine, because mines are an interconnected structure. Objects located in the uncontrolled area affect the condition of the mines located in the controlled area. But the lack of information about the operation of mines, such as flooding deprives the ability to properly prepare equipment in the controlled territory. As a result, both the mines and the areas on the surface are negatively affected, and the environmental situation on both sides of Donbas is inevitably deteriorating.
In 2020 Right to Protection initiated 10 expert meetings which were attended by specialists in the field of environmental safety, environmental protection, hydrogeology, environmental monitoring, waste recycling and information technology. Based on the results of work of experts, a joint resolution agreed by all project participants was prepared. In addition to a brief description of the problems, it contains proposals to the central authorities to prevent an environmental disaster.
The main issues that need to be addressed quickly are the establishment of joint environmental monitoring and prompt informing of the population about the condition of the coal industry. Experts believe that the procedure for such monitoring and the scope of information exchange should be enshrined in the Minsk agreements. Only in this way their implementation can be ensured. According to the Right to Protection specialists, it is important to expand the dialogue and involve the state and international partners in it, because the discussion of problems and the desire to solve them can be enshrined in proposals for regional development program and their use in the National Program for Transformation of Coal Regions of Ukraine until 2027.
«The Plan of the measures to prevent natural and man-made emergencies is based on the information received during the monitoring. However, as of today, Ukraine does not have the opportunity to control the situation at dangerous facilities, and therefore must take timely measures to prevent an environmental catastrophe in the region. That’s why the exchange of information, even at the level of dialogues between experts is now a priority. We are grateful to everyone who joined the project, and we hope that the authorities will listen to the opinion of experts,»– said Natalia Proskurenko, Manager of the Right to Protection Project «Peacebuilding and Dialogue on Environmental Issues in Eastern Ukraine».