Skip to main content

Russia's Catastrophic Environmental Crisis

By Theodora Filis

During the next decade, Russia will be unable to deal effectively with the formidable environmental challenges posed by decades of Soviet and post-Soviet environmental mismanagement and recurring economic crises. 

Although the prolonged contraction in economic activity has resulted in significant drops in most pollution categories, substantial environmental improvement will depend on an array of socioeconomic, institutional, and cultural changes--facilitated by the international engagement that will only begin to develop sporadically and close to the end of our 10-year time frame at the earliest. Major progress is decades away.

Among Russia's most serious environmental problems:
  • Water pollution is the most serious concern. Less than half of Russia's population has access to safe drinking water. While water pollution from industrial sources has diminished because of the decline in manufacturing, municipal wastes increasingly threaten key water supply sources, and nuclear contamination could seep into key water sources as well. The head of Russia's environmental protection committee estimates that the cost of raising the quality of Russia's entire drinking water supply to official standards could be as high as $200 billion.
  • Hazardous waste disposal problems are extensive and growing. Russian officials estimate that about 200 metric tons of the most highly toxic and hazardous wastes are dumped illegally each year in locations that lack effective environmental or public health protections or oversight.
  • Nuclear waste and chemical munitions contamination are so extensive and costly to reverse remediation efforts are likely to continue to be limited largely to merely fencing off affected areas.
Environmental problems are harming both the health of Russia's citizens and the economy:
  • US, Russian, and World Bank studies link an increase in respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses and developmental problems among children in several Russian cities in part to environmental factors. A 1996 joint US-Russian government study found that one-quarter of kindergarten pupils in one city had lead concentrations above the threshold at which intelligence is impaired, while a US government study noted a rise in the incidence of waterborne diseases and environmentally related birth defects. A Russian government report cited air pollution as a contributing factor to 17 percent of childhood and 10 percent of adult illnesses.
Russia's environmental problems also pose substantial threats to other regions and are likely to continue to do so during the next decade:
  • Russia is a polluter of adjacent seas, dumping industrial and municipal wastes, chemical munitions, and, until the mid-1990s, solid and liquid radioactive wastes.
  • It is likely to continue to be a major producer and exporter of illicit ozone-depleting substances because of widespread black-market activity and also will remain a major emitter of carbon dioxide.

Popular posts from this blog

Plastic Pollutes Every Waterway, Sea and Ocean In The World

By Theodora Filis

When we damage our water systems, we're not only putting marine life at risk, we're also putting human life and resources in peril.

Our planet currently has six plastic islands made of trapped garbage. The damage to sea life by these plastic death traps can only be imagined, but scientists are now investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health. 

Plastic that now pollutes our oceans and waterways is having
a severe impact on our environment and our economy. 
Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating
marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal
blockage and starvation. 

Scientists previously thought that only actual plastic floating in the ocean could harm marine animals. But, new research proves there are additional unseen dangers being created by the plastic we discard daily. Initially it was thought that larg…

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later – House Judiciary Committee Decides The Fate Of Online Piracy

By Theodora Filis

The US House Judiciary Committee is now discussing an anti-online piracy bill that will allow independent parties to cut off websites accused of posting copyrighted material. Called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the bill is designed to get around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Currently, under the DMCA, a copyright holder can request a website remove material he or she owns. If the website refuses, the matter can go to court.
Under SOPA, which will go before the House Judiciary Committee on November 16, 2011:
      o Search engines can be required to block accused websites from results.

      o Internet service providers can be required to block accused websites from their customers.

      o Payment companies don't need a request from a copyright holder to block a website. Instead, they can do so on their own if they suspect a website may be posting copyrighted work without permission.

SOPA allows the third pa…

Patty Ameno's “Mad, Junkyard Dog Mentality” Is Barking Up The Right Tree and Getting Results

By Theodora Filis
Patty Ameno has been a steadfast and solitary solider, for over 25 years, in the battle to set to rights the horrific, self fulfilling acts of the Nuclear Industry. Ameno is well known for her environmental activism and for spearheading a 14-year lawsuit with Attorney Fred Baron, for wrongful death, personal injury and property damage from the operations of two former nuclear fuel plants in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The owners of the plants, Babcock & Wilcox and the Atlantic Richfield Co. settled with over 300 plaintiffs for more than $80 million in 2009. Ameno has received honors and recognition from the State of Pennsylvania, US Senate, and The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP).

Most recently, Patty was the focus of an article written by John Emshwiller, Wall Street Journal, titled: Waste Land: One Town's Atomic Legacy: A $500 Million Cleanup:

Patty Ameno's One-Woman Nuclear Crusade“She has been praised as a community protector and criticized …