ALAVERDI – Analysis on the presence of harmful chemicals in the environment will be realized in Lori Province. The locals suffer from serious contamination with heavy metals and other substances due to local mining and metallurgic industry. Researchers, together with a Czech NGO Arnika and local initiatives, will publish the results by the end of 2019. “Also, we will educate the locals on how to use our data and ensure themselves a healthier life,” said Arnika’s chairman, Martin Skalsky.
Farmers and villagers from Lori Province strive for non-toxic environment, allegedly caused by the copper and molybdenum acquiring activities in Alaverdi, Akhtala and Teghout. According to a 2018 research, the vicinity of the smelting power plant and neighbouring mines is highly polluted by copper, zinc, molybdenum, lead and arsenic.
“Further sampling is highly necessary since no effective precautions have been started in this matter so far. Presenting scientific proofs of the hazardous contamination is the only way to push responsible bodies towards their responsibilities and eventually improve the living conditions for Armenian people,” stated Oleg Dulgaryan, director of the Centre for Community Mobilisation and Support (CCMS) from Alaverdi.
For this purpose, CCMS teamed up with the Czech non-governmental organization Arnika and Yerevan-based informational portal EcoLur. The result of the analysis will be presented by the end of this year.
Healing poisoned nature around Debed
In addition to the scientific research, Arnika’s experts will meet with local inhabitants to discuss the next possible steps to minimize the negative impact of pollution for their health.
“In between July 19-26, we will visit the major hot-spots and talk with the mayors, farmers and journalists to try to find a possible solution to this troubling situation,” Arnika’s Miroslava Jopkova describes the mission funded by the Transition Promotion Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Researchers will also meet with the Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Yerevan, Jan Plesinger on July 22 in Alaverdi.
Last year, scientists from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague analysed chicken eggs, soil and sediments from the Debed River. Samples extracted just below the industrial sites showed a rapid increase of copper levels proving the contamination by heavy metals as a direct effect of the mining and metallurgy to surrounding environment.
In February. the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favor of six farmers from Lori. For violating violating their property rights by Armenian courts related to the mining activities in the region, the government was fined €70,000 in total.
14:44 July 17, 2019