On 10 December, Czech scientists presented in Yerevan the findings of the research they carried out in Akhtala, Alaverdi and Shnogh communities in Lori Region in the frames of ‘Industrial Pollution in Lori Region’ conference.
Still in the summer, the Czech specialists took samples from community land areas, riverbed, residents’ hair, as well as eggs from households during their visit to Akhtala, Alaverdi and Shnogh communities. The samples were researched at University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.
The research has been carried out in the frames of ‘Involvement of Civil Society in Armenia in Decision-making in Mining’ project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and implemented by Czech ‘Arnika’ organization, ‘Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment’ and ‘EcoLur’ Information NGOs.
Under the findings, the pollution with heavy metals is rather high, it impacts the environment and human health. The Czech scientists discovered a new risk – a carcinogenic chemical substance, dioxin, in the eggs of the hens kept by the residents.
The Head of Consular Service of the Czech Republic to Armenia, First Secretary Ani Shaginyanova said that the mission of ‘Arnika’ organization is to monitor the situation in Armenia, to support the residents who live near the mines and the tailing dumps. The experts can submit their proposals on the solution to the problems to the Armenian Government (video).
President of ‘Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment’ NGO Yelena Manvelyan outlined, ‘Unfortunately, there is monitoring carried out in our country on the pollution of soil, animal products, human hair with heavy metals. The information received as a result of this project gives a new impulse. The availability of high concentration of dioxin in the eggs shall attract the attention of the competent bodies,’ Yelena Manvelyan said (video).
Inga Zarafyan, President of ‘EcoLur’ Informational NGO stress out that a political will is needed to solve the problems. ‘From now on we have a new parliament and we will soon have a new government. The solution to these problems requires a political will.’
Alaverdi plant has been operated with the equipment dating back to the 17th century: nothing has been changed there for a long time except for the location of the chimney. Here we deal with cheap and dangerous technologies. In this regard, both the business and the government shall be held liable, as the alarm signals have always been beaten, but there has been no relevant response. Now we have a new challenge – the availability of dioxin and the intoxication reaches an unacceptable state.
Teghout mine resulted in having newly polluted land areas and newly polluted rivers. Now the mine has a new owner, a new operator has been appointed, a Russian company, which doesn’t mention anything about Teghout on its official website. It’s unclear what kind of relationships and obligations they have towards the community. In this regard as well, we should receive clarifications from the government.’ (video).
19:26 December 10, 2018