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Ecology minister: Smoke from burning tyres makes air in Kiev unbreathable

January 25, 2014, 4:59 UTC+3 25
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KIEV, January 25 (Itar-Tass) - The Ukrainian capital Kiev - a scene of continuing round-the-clock standoff between the authorities and anti-government protesters - is suffocating in thick black smoke from burning tyres in Grushevsky Street, the citadel of riotous factions and groups.

“Tens of thousands of people are literally hostages of this ecological hazard,” said Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Oleg Proskuryakov. “The smoke harms not only the protesters themselves, but ordinary civilians in nearby apartment buildings and the little kids who go to nearby schools and pre-school child-care centres.”

Proskuryakov recalled that burning tyres was under a strict ban in the European Union and other countries. He warned that spending more than half an hour close to burning rubber caused great harm to health. The volatile products of combustion consist of over 200 very harmful substances, such as dioxin, hydrogen chloride, benzene, sulphur compounds, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, likely to cause oncologic, skin, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The amount of pollutants escaping into Kiev’s air during one day is normally produced by a large industrial plant operating round the clock during one month,” Proskuryakov warned. “Tests indicate the presence of toxic agents in the air is way above the tolerance level. If the current situation lasts for another three to five days, the environment may suffer irreparable damage.

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