Starting from 1930ies Ukraine is an industrial territory, which means abundance of pollutant emissions over our heads. Thus, in 1990 the amount of emissions reached 15.5 million tons, then started to decrease, but since 2000 have been growing again due to post-perestroika revival of economy. In 2007, Ukraine started to develop "cleaner" technologies: annual industrial pollution began to decrease, while emission of gases to the atmosphere keeps growing due to increasing number of cars.    

What we breathe...


In 2011 there were 4.4 t of СО2 and 95.7 kg of other pollutant emissions per capita, and 335 to of СО2 and 7.2 t of other pollutant emissions per one square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. IN some regions the average level is exceeded: in Donetsk region the pollution is 7.9 times above the norm per 1 km2 and 3.6 times - per person; in Dnipropetrovsk region - 4.1 times and 3 times respectively, in Luhansk region - 2.4 and 2.2 times respectively, in Ivano-Frankivsk region - 2.4 and 2.2 times respectively.  

Lilia Kozak, specialist of the ecological and geological monitoring department of the Ecology Ministry of Ukraine, told ForUm that in 2011 the atmospheric emissions from stationary sources (industrial objects) made 4374.6 thousand tons, which was 5.9% more comparing to the previous year. Industrial emissions make 63.3% of all emissions in the country. According to the expert, "our air is polluted by 8700 industrial enterprises of iron and steel industry, heat power industry, oil and gas industry, coal industry and cement industry. Altogether, these five sectors provide almost 90% of the total national volume of stationary pollution." The key violations of ecological norms by industrial companies include absence of permissions for emissions, non-compliance with environmental requirements, violation of working instructions of treatment plants. 

The principal emissions of stationary origin are dioxide and other sulfur compounds (1342.6 t or 30.7%), carbonic oxide CO (24.4%), methane СН4 (20.1%), suspended solids (13.9%) and nitrogen compounds (8.7%).

As for emission of gases to the atmosphere, in 2011 it made 2502.7 thousand tons. Unchallenged leadership belongs to motor transport (90.1%); then goes manufacturing technology (6.8%), rail transport (2.1%), air transport (0.6%) and water transport (0.3%).

The "leaders" of gas emissions are carbonic oxide CO (73.6% or 1842.1 thousand tons), nitrogen dioxide NO2   (12%), nonmethane volatile organic compounds (11.4%), black carbon (1.4%), sulfur dioxide SO2 (1.2%).

...what diseases we have...


Atmospheric emissions affect the health of the population, worsen the quality of agricultural products, affect the climate and state of ozone layer, head of the greening problems of economy department of the Institute for economic and ecological study Tetyana Halushkina says. The figures show that morbidity rate keeps growing (from 70.6 ths to 71 ths people for the period of 2007-2011). Among the diseases caused by atmospheric emissions, there are respiratory diseases (43.7%), circulatory diseases (7.25%), injuries and poisoning (6.6%), diseases of the genitourinary system (6.5%), diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (4.6%), diseases of the digestive system (4%).

Thus, carbonic oxide affects nervous and cardiovascular systems, causes asphyxiation; nitrogen oxides - NO, N2O3, NO5, N2O4   - irritate respiratory system. Nitrogen oxides are especially dangerous in big cities, where they interact with carbon monoxide and form photochemical pollutants - smog. SO2 - gas without color but with sharp odor - irritates conjunctiva and breathing passages.
Hydrocarbons (gasoline and methane vapor, etc.) can be divided into two groups: irritants (affect central nervous system and mucosae) and carcinogens (cause cancerous diseases). Inhalation of lead compounds may cause failure of hemoglobin synthesis, respiratory diseases, diseases of the genitourinary system and central nervous system. Lead load in atmosphere of big cities reaches 5-38 mg/m3, which is 10 thousand times more than natural background.  

Formaldehyde is colorless gas with a characteristic pungent, irritating odor. Processes in the upper atmosphere contribute up to 90 percent of the total formaldehyde in the environment. When produced in the atmosphere by the action of sunlight and oxygen on atmospheric methane and other hydrocarbons, it becomes part of smog. Formaldehyde is highly toxic to all living creatures, including humans. It affects genetics, central nervous system, respiratory system, eyes, skin, liver, kidneys.

Finally, atmospheric dust is airborne grit compounds, settling on the surface of Earth under windless weather. Sources of dust can be of natural origin and industrial origin. The major part of atmospheric dust is concentrated at heights up to 500 m.

...and how to improve the situation


Halushkina notes that it is difficult to deal with these emissions. Yes, the country has switched to European standards of fuel, but it is a partial measure. "Fuel producers not always meet the quality level. Large plants also have ecologic programs, but still it is not enough. I sure that the situation will improve only if Ukraine switches to European standards on atmospheric emissions within the Association agreement with the EU," she says. 

And Kyiv has already started working on it. Among other things, the Ecology Ministry adopted a resolution on adaptation of domestic eco-legislation to the EU norms. The plan provides for introduction of basic regulations of the EU on atmospheric emissions, including directives on clean air; on arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; on quality of gasoline and diesel; on reduction of sulfur content in fuel oil; on control over emissions of volatile organic components from gasoline storages and in the process of transportation. 

A representative of the State ecological inspection Ihor Buzhak adds that to switch to the European norms we need to divide the country into zones by air quality, to improve the monitoring system, to set new modern regulations and requirements to quality of fuel, etc.

However, specialists note that out-of-date regulatory system is not the only problem. According to Halushkina, "another problem is that too many ministries and departments are involved into pollution issue. Very often, the departments try to shove tasks and responsibilities on to each other, and in the result, the problem remains unsolved. We need one single body to control the issue, and it would be logical for Ecology Ministry to be such a body."

One way or another, President Viktor Yanukovych charged relevant state bodies with the job of adapting 80% of domestic eco-legislation to the European one. Officials and analysts admit that the task is difficult but resolvable. For the first time in many years, we have a real chance to make our sky cleaner.

Atmospheric emissions in Ukraine for 1990-2011



Amount of pollutant emissions

total

(KTA)

including

stationary sources

emission of gases1

1990

15549.4

9439.1

6110.3

1991

14315.4

8774.6

5540.8

1992

12269.7

8632.9

3636.8

1993

10015,0

7308.3

2706.7

1994

8347.4

6201.4

2146.0

1995

7483.5

5687.0

1796.5

1996

6342.3

4763.8

1578.5

1997

5966.2

4533.2

1433.0

1998

6040.8

4156.3

1884.5

1999

5853.4

4106.4

1747.0

2000

5908.6

3959.4

1949.2

2001

6049.5

4054.8

1994.7

2002

6101.9

4075.0

2026.9

2003

6191.3

4087.8

2103.5

2004

6325.9

4151.9

2174.0

2005

6615.6

4464.1

2151.5

2006

7027.6

4822.2

2205.4

2007

7380.0

4813.3

2566.7

2008

7210.3

4524.9

2685.4

2009

6442.9

3928.1

2514.8

2010

6678.0

4131.6

2546.4

2011

6877.3

4374.6

2502.7

    
1 For 1990-2002 – data on motor transport, from 2003 - data on motor, rail, air and water transport, from 2007 – includes manufacturing technology.

Source: State statistics service of Ukraine

Andriy Boyarunets

ForUm

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