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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago




[02.04.2OO2] "The creepy disaster"

The UNDP, Government and NGO representatives, businessmen, scientists and others have embarked on developing the Kyrgyzstan National Environment Strategy in Bishkek. The task is to assess environmental situation and draw up a conclusion for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The condition of glaciers and surface and subterranean water are international eh focus. It largely depends on dumps of hazardous productions
 
Uncontrolled dumps containing uranium waste are of particular danger. They are located in highly earthquake, mudflow and landslide prone areas. They destruction may turn into a disaster more terrible than the Chernobyl one. The republic is unable to make the damps safe on its own. This needs about $400 million-500 million
 
Experts with the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Russia's Atomic Energy Committee have begun assessing dumps in the southern republic and offered the first land rehabilitation feasibility study paper. This includes site Kaji-Sai, eight sites in Min-Koosh and two very dangerous damps in Mailoo-Soo. Serious natural cataclysms may cause hazardous substances kept in the damps go to Naryn river
 
Kyrgyzstan's lands polluted with radioactive substances total over 6,500 hectares under some 45 million tons of hazardous waste. The dumps if destroyed may poison the area of over 5,000 square kilometers in Chui river basin
 
The world's biggest dump in located in the town of Kara-Balta. Radiation dose is 1,300 microRoentgen-hour. Radionuclides infiltrate in surface and subterranean water. Wind erosion may make them reach the capital city
 
As a result of operation of the mercury factory in Khaidarkan and the antimony one in Kadamjai the concentrations of mercury and antimony in air samples in 80 times higher than the maximum admissible mark! This poison infiltrates into placental blood and breast milk hence causing growth in infant mortality
 
The republic has lead and uranium productions as well. Their wastes buried hurry-scurry some three decades ago are gradually mouldering away. These sites total about a hundred
 
Should urgent efforts not be taken to fortify the Kaji-Sai dump complex over 600,000 cubic meters of radioactive mass may rush into Issyk-Kul Lake
 
Even in a long term Kyrgyzstan will have no funds to guarantee its environmental security. Rehabilitating the areas polluted by nuclear productions alone requires some $200 million
 
Based on the international expert conclusion Kyrgyzstan has been included in the list of environmentally labile countries. Its low score is due to the republic's general indifference towards environmental issues, high corruption and insufficient cooperation on environmental issues with other countriesMedics mark high mortality growth in the areas where polluting productions were or are located; and the number of cancer cases is growing with every year in the republic
 
According to medical statistics the number of malicious neoplasm cases are twofold higher in Bishkek than in other areas of the country. Here cremators, not dumps' radiation, are saturating air with substances most cancer producing and harmful for human health. Strong concentration of Benzapirene cancer producing substance in the cities should be added to this. It is many times higher than the maximum admissible mark; it has been found even in water supply pipelines. Some experts believe its concentration will be 200 times higher that the maximum admissible mark in near years
 
Slovo Kyrgyzstana, April2, 2002

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