The gravest ecological problem is observed in industrial regions of the country, such as Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhya. During his concluding press conference, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych paid special attention to the matter. He noted that people living in polluted regions would have a legislative protection. "We will provide legislative protection for people living on polluted territories. We can solve this task and we will do it," Yanukovych said.
At the end of last year, the Head of State also noted that when building new enterprises it is necessary to take into account ecology issue. Owners of industrial enterprises should not cut costs at ecological security, but follow all necessary norms. Shutting down dirty enterprises is not the way out, and ForUm has asked experts about possible solutions.
Vadym Dyukanov, executive director of the Development fund for ecological and energy markets:
- Laws of physics do not allow us to arrange waste-free production. 20 years ago Ukraine inherited 'dirty' structure of economy, and due to various reasons failed to switch to 'clean' production, as Malaysia and Singapore did. However, the world financial crisis and falling demand for our main export production - metallurgy - gives us a chance to redirect our economy to export of agricultural production, for example. It will enable Ukraine to change the structure of its economy making it 'cleaner'. At the same time, it will also change the structure of pollution of the environment: the air will become cleaner, but surface and ground waters in main agricultural regions will become more polluted.
Ruslan Pavlenko, economist:
- Kyoto protocol is one of the most efficient mechanisms to improve the ecological situation, including air emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
The Kyoto mechanisms are international emissions trading, clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI). The mechanisms help to stimulate green investment and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way. Under the Protocol, countries' actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of the trades carried out.
Parties with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions. These targets are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts,” over the 2008-2012 commitment period. The allowed emissions are divided into “assigned amount units” (AAUs).
Emissions trading, as set out in Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows countries that have emission units to spare - emissions permitted them but not "used" - to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.
So, in such a way Ukraine has already earned more than 300 million euro. The money is divided mainly among enterprises of fuel and energy complex and metallurgy, as they are the major polluting objects, and aimed at JI development. Moreover, in December of 2012 Ukraine was finally given the status of a country with emerging economy and received certain preferences, which give access to additional financing. Thus, the so-called adaptation fund "Green Climate Fund" must be established by the year 2020. The GCF will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties and allocate no less than $100 billion annually for energy saving projects in emerging countries. Ukraine has good chances to get a part of this money and spend it for ecological projects.
Ihor Buzhak, specialist of the State ecological inspection of Ukraine:
- One of the biggest threats for air safety is particulate matter - PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm) and PM2.5 (aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm). According to World Health Organization, PM affects more people than any other pollutant. The effects of PM on health occur at levels of exposure currently being experienced by most urban and rural populations in both developed and developing countries. Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer.
According to WHO recommendations, the guideline value for PM10 is 20 μg/m3 annual mean. In some cities of Ukraine, however, the level reaches 300 μg/m3. To solve the problem we must adapt our legislation to the European standards and norms. The Directive on industrial emissions, adopted in 2010, helped the EU to reduce PM emissions by 35-50%. Similar measures are possible in Ukraine as well. At this point there is a task to compete the adaptation of the regulatory base, and this is a huge step forward.
Vitaly Ponomarenko, engineering director of "Stirol" concern:
- The equipment we use now in chemical industry give far lesser ecological impact comparing to the equipment used before. Enterprises have been modernized, equipment has been upgraded. Thanks to modern filtering units, many plants have abandoned the practice of discharging waste into ground waters. Some plants even take waste discharge from other plants for processing. Moreover, environment protection activities are cost-effective.
Tetyana Halushkina, head of the greening problems of economy department of the Institute for economic and ecological study:
- 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.
Lilia Kozak, specialist of the ecological and geological monitoring department of the Ecology Ministry of Ukraine:
- 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 biggest stationary pollution is registered in Donetsk region (34.9% of the total amount countrywide), Dnipropetrovsk region (21.7%) and Luhansk region (10.8%).
Joining the Kyoto Protocol is one of the ways to improve ecological situation. I want to remind that Ukraine is one of a few countries, which has undertaken new limitations on greenhouse gas emission. Kyoto mechanisms stimulate the plants to implement effective ecological programs getting in return money for 'green investments'.
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