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Greenpeace: Moscow River overpolluted
July 25, 2013, 5:02 pm


The pollutants in the river include sulfur, oil, heavy metals and aluminium [AP]

Waters of the Moskva River flowing through the Russian capital are ‘overpolluted’, according to Greenpeace Russia.

After conducting tests and launching a ‘Water Patrol’ on the rivers of the capital the organisation said on Thursday that pollutants in the water have breached safety limits.

Water Patrol boats sailed down the Moskva and Yauza Rivers for five days to get the samples of wastewaters discharged by industrial enterprises and inspected 50 kilometres of the banks.

The results of the survey underscore the need for government incentives to introduce modern technologies at industrial enterprises to check the transmission of pollutants into the environment.

The quantity of industrial pollutants in the Moscow River significantly exceeds safety standards, Greenpeace concluded after the study.

Mercury, for instance, exceeds safety levels by 20 times.

“There are toxic substances that exceed Russia’s safety standards by many times,” Dmitry Artamonov, head of the Toxics campaign of Greenpeace Russia told The BRICS Post.

The pollutants include sulfur, oil, heavy metals and aluminium.

However, the pollutants do not directly threaten Muscovites.

“Muscovites don’t drink this water, they get it from water reservoirs that have upstream locations. But these polluted waters fall into large rivers such as Volga and Oka, where water is used for agriculture. Thus Muscovites might receive the polluted water back with food,” Artamonov told The BRICS Post.

The results in Moscow are better than those in Saint Petersburg – home to more industrial enterprises.

“This is not the problem of metropolitan areas, but of industrial centres. In other regions of Russia the situation is even worse. According to official statistics, the most polluted are Amur, Volga, Ob, Pechora. We haven’t inspected these rovers yet,” Artamonov said.

Water pollution is under federal jurisdiction and Moscow authorities cannot undertake measures to fight pollution on their own.

“But the problem is even wider with the legislation on water protection not stimulating industrial enterprises to introduce modern technologies, thus discharging toxic substances into rivers and lakes is easier. In the worst case scenario an enterprise will pay a mediocre fine,” added Artamonov.

Artamonov says the situation is even worse in India and China, where quick and rapid industrialisation is damaging the environment.

“Especially chemical and textile industries that are the worst for the environment,” Artamonov said.

By Daria Chernyshova in Moscow, Russia for The BRICS POST