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IRKUTSK, February 8 (Itar-Tass) — Scientists of the Siberian division of Russia’s Academy of Scientists suggest expanding Russia’s institute of ombudsmen and introducing a position of an ecology ombudsman.
Director of the Limnology Institute professor Mikhail Grachev said that the federal legislation on protection of Baikal and some regulating norms have been violated systematically. For example, waste waters from the Baikal pulp and paper plant contain substances banned by the order from Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources on norms of acceptable impact on Baikal’s ecology system.
The professor says that the present legislation on Baikal is contradictory in many aspects and causes “legal nihilism.” For example, the order from Russia’s government of January 13, 2010, which allowed the pulp and paper plant to continue its work due to social problems in Baikalsk, contains a ban on dumping substances, which do not have a maximum set of concentration limits.
“The pulp industry dumps many substances, which do not have maximum concentration limits, and there is only one way to fight it – to have a closed loop of water. The loop is abandoned, unlike dumping the substances without a set maximum of concentration limits,” he said. “Thus, presently, it is simply impossible to observe the law.”
He added that the pulp and paper plant is not the only, though the biggest, violator of law.
“I believe, there is only way out here – it is necessary to have a Baikal ombudsman,” the scientist said. “One person responsible for its problems will be able to address any authorities, like children’s or human rights’ ombudsmen do.”
He continued saying that Pavel Astakhov, the Russian children’s ombudsman, could be an ideal candidate. Anyway, the scientist does not doubt “it is possible to find a worthy candidate for the mission.”
Presently, Russia has children’s and human rights’ ombudsmen. A week earlier, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested introducing entrepreneurs’ ombudsman.
Baikal is the planet’s deepest lake and the biggest natural reservoir of fresh water /about 90 percent of Russian and over 20 percent of global reserves/. Most of its flora and fauna are endemic.