| Give us the Ministry of Environment back!
[2 ноября 2016г. в 14:25]
These words are addressed to the recently elected Head of the Komi Republic, who 17 October 2016 eliminated the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Komi Republic. Nina Ananine, the leader of NGO «Ecologists of Komi», stood up in a solo protest near «the Yellow House» - the Administration of the Head of the Komi Republic.
Three NGOs of the Republic, including the Save Pechora Committee, Ecologists of Komi and Izvatas directed their appeals with a similar request to four addressees – the President of Russia, the Federal Ministry of natural resources, the State Council of the Republic and the new Head of the region. The activists are concerned that due to the elimination of the independent environmental agency already unfavourable situation with compliance with environmental legislation in the Komi Republic can develop into a complete paralysis of the state environmental control and environmental component might disappear completely from the management of natural resources.
The appeal justifies illogicality and the risks of merging the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Industrial Development under the leadership of the later. An example of a similar failure is the elimination of independent Federal Ministry of Ecology and the Federal Agency of Forestry Services and transfer their functions to the Ministry of Natural Resources, which has led to the de-ecologization of the Russian legislation, and virtually to the destruction of state environmental protection agencies and the state environmental protection policy. It is noted that the goal of the Ministry of Environment is sustainable management of natural resources, in other words, to ensure that the booming industrial development of the natural resources of the Republic is in compliance with environmental protection and constitutional right of citizens to a healthy environment. The Ministry of Industrial Development, alas, has the opposite goals - they are aimed at the development of natural resources, and thus, often, they close their eyes to the environmental legislation (remember multiple illegal attempts to change the borders of Yugyd Va National Park!).
"Every year in the Komi Republic there are incidents that irresponsible industrial companies are trying to hide or significantly downplay their negative impact on the fragile ecosystem of our northern region: oil spills, emissions of toxic substances into the atmosphere, discharge of untreated sewage into water bodies, transport of hazardous chemical goods, unauthorized felling and dumping of industrial waste.
The transfer of functions from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to the Ministry of Industrial Development will aggravate the situation and generate a permanent conflict of interest, which considering existing inefficient state environmental oversight (Rosprirodnadzor), will invariably be resolved not in favour of nature", - convinced activists.
In addition, the elimination of the Ministry of Environment brings risks to the entire regional natural protection areas, because functions over its management were assigned to the Ministry of Environment.
"The elimination of the Ministry of Environment by the new Head of the region considering its nearly 30 years of history, experiences and personnel, and especially just before the Year of Ecology, in our opinion, is a sabotage in relation to the residents of the Republic who elected him and lobbying the interests of mining companies, which are the major environmental polluters in our region, - stated in the appeal of NGOs. - This decision dramatically reduces the level of trust not only to the Head of the region, but also casts a shadow over the country leadership."
NGOs who signed the petition are asking the addressees "to intervene in the situation and take measures aimed at the abolition of the decision to eliminate the Komi Republic Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, to preserve it as an independent executive body responsible for the sustainable management of natural resources in the region, taking into account not only economic necessity, but also environmental security and long-term interests of the inhabitants of the Komi Republic."
The solo protest of the leader of Ecologists of Komi is the first in a series of actions to be taken by non-governmental organizations in response to the elimination of the Komi Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
Unfortunately, Nina Ananina stood in a protest near “the Yellow House” no more than 20 minutes. She then was detained by police officers and escorted to the police station, where they confiscated the poster, made a report on administrative offense and warned on waiting for an SMS from the court. She is facing a fine of not less than 10 thousand rubles.
Photo by Ivan Ivanov