Increase in unemployment, declining incomes, agricultural sales and healthcare issues: these are the challenges that Ararat rural community in Ararat Region faced due to COVID-19 epidemic.
Ararat Village is negatively affected by the cyanide tailing dump of Ararat Gold Extraction Plant operated by GeoProMining Gold LLC, which is located within the administrative boundaries of Ararat Village. The problem is that only Ararat Town, where the factory is located, is considered to be the affected community of Ararat Gold Extraction Factory, whereas Ararat Village, being under the influence of a cyanic tailing dump, is not affected.
In his conversation with EcoLur, Ararat rural community deputy head Zaven Ghazaryan said that the flows from the tailing dumps are filled into the pastures. "The polluted water from the tailing dump fills into an area at the end of our land areas, the part going to Yeraskh, where the pastures are located. If the animal enters there, it may die. But all livestock owners are aware that livestock should not be allowed there,” Zaven Ghazaryan said.
The cyanide tailing dump pollutes the environment in Ararat village, deteriorates the health condition of its workers, the village does not use the subsidies provided in accordance with RA Law “On Targeted Use of Environmental Fees Paid by Companies”. That is why the community does not have funding for environmental and healthcare programs. From this point of view, the issue of obtaining the status of an "affected community" for Ararat Village becomes an urgent one.
According to him, during the coronavirus, GeoProMining Gold provided food and hygiene kits to 500 families in need. "In the same way, Ararat Wine Factory provided assistance to 400 families," he said. In 2017 and 2018 GeoProMining Gold LLC paid a land tax to Ararat Village in the amount of 1 million 970 thousand AMD each year.
The property tax designed for the company amounted to 20,000 AMD, 10,000 AMD in 2018, which was paid in full by the company. In 2018, the company paid 960,000 AMD to Ararat village municipality for its rented real estate.
The other polluter in the village is Ararat Cement Factory. Ararat Cement Plant is located in Ararat Town, but Ararat Village is also affected by the plant's emissions. According to Zaven Ghazaryan, when the wind blows, the cement dust comes and sits on the village.
Initially, they carried out explanatory work with the residents of the community in the direction of preventing the epidemic, made visits to yards, schools, shops and production enterprises. The community budget provided 6 million AMD as social assistance to socially vulnerable families. Under the conditions of the epidemic, the municipality added 1.2 million AMD to that amount in order to be able to solve the problems of all the residents.
According to Zaven Ghazaryan, the large number of infected people was conditioned with the war. "The war was a new challenge in terms of the spread of the epidemic. The people's vigilance had weakened considerably because of the war," he said. Due to the epidemic, the number of unemployed has also increased in Ararat.
"If 100 people had to leave the country, half of them were able to find work, so they started cultivating their gardens or working in the neighbor's gardens," the deputy community head said.
The solution to the problem of irrigation water and the construction of a sewage treatment plant is a priority for Ararat village today. "During the Soviet years, there was a water treatment plant in our area near the Araks River. Sewage from Ararat Town came to the village, was mechanically cleaned, and then only poured into the river. The government changed, the treatment plant was looted. Today, that wastewater is filled into the fields without treatment," Zaven Ghazaryan said.
January 21, 2021 at 13:57