Donbas is not only a zone of war, but ecological catastrophe as well? 

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2014/10/08 • War in the Donbas

Article by: Anastasiya Moskvychova

Kyiv – The people in the conflict zone in Donbas are facing respiratory diseases: because of the incineration of the substances inside ammunition, the air pollution sometimes significantly supersedes all acceptable norms, claim environmental organization activists. Meanwhile there are still no official data on the damage done to the environment and the influence of these factors on the people. 

Researchers from Ecology. Right. Human organization in Luhansk oblast documented that the level of sulphur dioxide in the air surpasses the acceptable level eightfold. They published the results of the investigation they conducted in the town of Shchastya in the summer of the current year.

According to ecologist Kateryna Norenko, they managed to get measures until August 17, later the observation point was ruined under artillery fire. They measured the content of sulphur oxides, nitrogen and carbon. The percentage of these gases in the air grew significantly immediately after fire, and then the gas would not disperse, the researcher says.

“The acceptable limit of sulphur dioxide concentration was surpasses five times after the first attack, and on the day of the second attack, it increased eightfold, so it accumulated,” Norenko says.

According to the ecologist, if the concentration of these gases in the air is high, acid rain falls, and if they come in contact with bodily fluids, they create acids that may damage capillaries and the epithelium in respiratory and digestive organs. Nitrogen dioxide may cause cataracts, carbon monoxide causes hypoxia, Norenko adds. She advises the people on dangerous territory to use respirators or wet masks on their faces, for the acids to be created on the cloth and not inside the body.

Member of the Parliament: it is still impossible to calculate the damages done to the environment

It is still impossible to calculate the losses on the territories that are out of Kyiv’s control, and everything is all right in the freed districts of Donbas, stated member of the parliamentary committee for economic policies Ihor Myroshnychenko in a commentary to Radio Liberty.

“In Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and other cities which were occupied, the infrastructure has been restored as of today, and they have everything to provide for the population,” the Parliament member added.

Radio Liberty sent an inquiry to the Ministry for Nature regarding the damages done to Donbas environment, as in September Minister Andriy Mokhnyk reported that he was unable to calculate them at the time, however he presumed millions of hryvnia worth of losses. As Mokhnyk said back then, air pollution is critical because the artillery targeted chemical and metallurgy factories in the region, as well as because of the incineration of a big amount of powerful ammunition.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty

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