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Regions should have environment funds, collecting compensation from industries — experts

October 15, 2017, 20:44 UTC+3 KRASNOYARSK

According to experts, ecological situation in the Arctic still causes concerns

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KRASNOYARSK, October 15. /TASS/. Compensation from natural resource companies for pollution should go to specialized regional environmental funds, not into the revenues of various budgets, where they "get lost," experts in environment said during an ecology conference in Krasnoyarsk.

The two-day forum united at the discussion platform representatives of environmental organizations, representatives of businesses and authorities.

"As of now, the money in compensation for the environmental damage gets lost amid municipal budgets' revenues... While the compensation should be focused and should be used for settlement of local environmental problems," the Krasnoyarsk Territory's environmental Prosecutor Roman Tkachenko said.

He spoke about the Achinsk region, where out of 170 million rubles, paid by the local plant in 2016-2017 in compensation for the damage to agricultural lands, only ten million were used for settlement of environment-related problems, and the rest of the money was used for everyday expenses of the budget.

Instead of doing so, the prosecutor said, regions should have specialized environmental funds to accumulate payments from enterprises for the damage to the environment, and that money then could be used directly to finance the environment's rehabilitation.

Tangible results

Environmental experts stress the situation in the Krasnoyarsk territory, especially in the northern parts, has improved.

"Both in Norilsk and in Krasnoyarsk, in the Year of Ecology we can see results, which are "evident". Including in financing of environmental events... The Krasnoyarsk territory is among Russia's ten leading regions, which means - comparable money is not used on ecology anywhere else, and this, first of all, is due to Nornickel," Roman Pukalov of the Green Patrol NGO said.

As Nornickel closed down a nickel plant in Norilsk, the emissions dropped by 30%, and now the company is improving the gas purification system at its copper plant.

"We have reached revolutionary achievements. The milestone event in the ecology was closing down the nickel plant in Norilsk. Its tubes were not high and it was situation so that all the sulfur gases were covering the city," the ecologist was supported by an expert of the Ecology Research Institute Vladimir Grachev.

Arctic is zone of environmental cooperation

According to experts, the Arctic's ecology still causes concerns, and from the production site the northern territories now develop into the area of international environmental cooperation.

"Today, the Arctic is no longer a territory of environmental disaster, it is rather a territory of huge environmental future. I do not think we can speak now about the Arctic's sorrowful future. There continues a big number of events, the gained waste is cleaned," co-head of the Russian Ecology Chamber Vladimir Koptev-Dvornikov said, adding work in the "fragile Arctic nature" should be based on scientifically reasonable approaches.

Aide to the Bellona international ecological union Anna Kireyeva said a week earlier the Pasvik Visit Center in the Murmansk region hosted Days of Transborder Cooperation. "It is cooperation between the Murmansk region and the Barents Region's countries - this year, the events focused on the environmental problems," she said. "I must say, both Russian, Norwegian and Finnish representatives said they were satisfied with the joint work in the ecology sphere."

The Days of Transborder Cooperation began with opening of posters exhibition, devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Russia-Norway environmental cooperation. The meeting's participants discussed international cooperation in the Arctic, implementation of social programs in the environment, work of special natural reserves in the Arctic, their natural and cultural heritage.

Bellona's representative said industrial companies in western Russia also work on improving the environment. For example, the Kola Mining Company in 2016 cut by more than 20% the emission of sulfur dioxide.

The environmental conference in Krasnoyarsk featured representatives of the region's industries, authorities, scientists and ecologists. The event's organizer is the Norilsk Nickel Company.

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