30 August 2008, 15:01

Sergey Bokovoy: South Ossetia is an ecological catastrophe

Sergey Bokovoy, a member of the first group of the leading Russian ecologists and a member of the Supreme Ecological Board of Russian State Duma, believes that the territory of South Ossetia is an ecological catastrophe zone. He told journalists about it on August 29 after his two-day stay in the territory of the Republic.

According to Mr Bokovoy, high air temperature now in Tskhinvali is accompanied by increased content of suspended dust. The dust concentration is so high that the Russian peacekeepers that stay in the territory of South Ossetia, have to wear protective masks. Water is supplied to the city once every two-three days. The systems of water supply and drainage are destroyed.

But the most terrible thing, as Alexander Belozyorov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian "Green" Ecological Party, who also visited Tskhinvali, confirms Sergey Bokovoy's words, is that cemeteries are destroyed in South Ossetia. Direct shell hits have opened tombs both near Tskhinvali and in villages. The government of South Ossetia says that so far it is not possible to take care of the cemeteries, since live citizens need attention. However, it is very hot, Mr Belozyorov asserts, and it can provoke a threat of epidemic.

"We got convinced," said Alexander Belozyorov, "that we need a wide-scale expedition of ecologists to sample and examine air and water by all parameters. It will be held in September. The Agency of the Russian Chief Sanitary Physician Gennady Onischenko will also take part in studying the ecological situation from their viewpoint. We plan to analyze the whole morbidity and mortality statistics in the Republic for the last 18 years. This sort of expedition was already sanctioned by President Eduard Kokoity."

In the opinion of ecologists, now, South Ossetia suffers from a huge deficit of labour force, since there are plenty of destruction in cities and villages. Russian rescuers do a lot; by September 1, they promised to repair School No. 2 in Tskhinvali, which suffered least during the warfare.

Russian ecologists have expressed their surprise with the fact that neither Greenpeace nor other public ecological organizations exhibited any interest in the situation in South Ossetia.

Author: Vera Voloshinova, CK correspondent;

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Russia, South Ossetia, Georgia > Conflicts, Society, Politics, Nature And Ecology

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