Azerbaijani working group on environmental issues holds meeting in Shusha (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Society Materials 5 August 2023 20:04 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijani working group on environmental issues holds meeting in Shusha (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added: first version posted on 14:12

BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 5. The Working Group on environmental issues of the Interdepartmental Center, operating under the Coordination Headquarters for addressing the issues in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan in a centralized manner has held a meeting in Shusha city, Trend reports.

Representatives from the working group's respective state structures, including the Special Representative Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Shusha District, Shusha City State Reserve Management, and the Special Representative Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Gubadli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan districts of the East Zangazur Economic Region, attended the meeting.

Delegates from the Special Representative Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the liberated territories of the Karabakh Economic Region (except for Shusha District), the Karabakh Economic Region Restoration, Construction, and Management Service, and the East Zangazur Economic Region Restoration, Construction, and Management Service No. 1 also attended the event.

Vugar Karimov, the Head of the Working Group and Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, provided updates on the ministry's environmental efforts in the Shusha district. These efforts encompass reforestation, the creation of new green areas, protection of special natural territories, and measures to preserve the Dashalti State Nature Reserve established in 1988. The reserve is dedicated to safeguarding rare natural complexes, historical and paleontological landmarks, and maintaining them as exemplary areas within the administrative territories of Khojaly and Shusha districts.

Karimov highlighted that out of the 8,526 hectares of forest resources in the Shusha district, 2,972 hectares were destroyed, along with 50 hectares from the Dashalti State Nature Reserve, which originally spanned 450 hectares. Additionally, among the eight mineral deposits registered in the 1990s, only four were exploited.

The official also mentioned the ongoing exchange of information with experts engaged in the international legal assessment of the ecological damage caused by Armenia during the 30-year occupation.

Furthermore, the installation of an automatic weather station equipped with all necessary sensors in Shusha city has been completed, aiming to restore the hydrometeorological network. This station now enables the assessment of climatic conditions in the Shusha district, leading to improved accuracy in meteorological forecasts and warnings, which is particularly beneficial for industrial and agricultural sectors operating in the area.

In addition to the intensive development and beautification efforts in the liberated territories, there is a strong focus on restoring the environment. To achieve this goal, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has compiled a list of trees and shrubs suitable for planting in new green zones, considering their bio-ecological characteristics. Furthermore, a classification based on planting types has been prepared to guide the restoration process.

To kickstart the restoration efforts, suitable tree species have been planted on a 1.5-hectare plot adjacent to the Topkhana forest in the Shusha district. Additionally, a 0.02-hectare plot to the left of the entrance to Shusha city has also been planted with appropriate trees to further contribute to the greening of the area.

A representative from the Special Representative Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Shusha district provided valuable insights into the planning and project work for the restoration and reconstruction of Shusha city, which holds significant historical, cultural, and strategic importance for Azerbaijan. It was emphasized that ecological concerns are given special attention during the ongoing construction and restoration work in Shusha.

Under the Master Plan of Shusha city, projects for constructing houses and other structures are carefully designed to include measures for preserving and relocating trees from areas designated for creating green alleys and parks in the new districts. This approach ensures that the city's greenery and natural environment are well-preserved during the development process.

The favorable geographical location and rich nature of the Shusha district offer extensive opportunities for the development of the service and tourism sectors. In line with this potential, the special representative office collaborates with relevant institutions to create a comfortable and healthy living environment for the residents of Shusha who are returning to their homeland, as well as for visiting guests. To achieve this, they aim to implement innovative methods that align with environmental standards, promoting sustainable development practices in the city.

Moreover, the future concept for the development of Shusha city and its surrounding areas takes into account the potential of the rivers located in the district, the Dashalti State Nature Reserve, and the abundant mineral water source, Turshsu, to develop tourist zones. This strategic approach aims to harness the natural resources of the region for tourism development while ensuring their conservation and protection.

During the meeting, the participants were also informed about the management of solid household waste in the liberated territories. The "Temiz Sheher" (Clean City) state-owned company is actively engaged in solid household waste management in Shusha city. A total of 121 containers have been strategically placed across 70 sites throughout the city to facilitate waste disposal. Additionally, in collaboration with the Shusha City State Reserve Management, the company has set up six landfill sites for underground waste containers, with plans to establish more in the future. This effort includes the acquisition of six units of specialized equipment and four types of underground containers, meeting modern waste management requirements in the city.

During the presentation, Faig Mutallimov, the department head at the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, emphasized the ministry's commitment to promoting a circular economy in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan. To ensure efficient utilization of natural resources, the ministry has initiated the recycling of construction waste generated during restoration and reconstruction works in Kangarli village, located in the Aghdam district.

To ensure sustainable waste management in response to the increased volume of construction and demolition waste resulting from restoration efforts in the liberated territories, a pilot project was launched in the Aghdam district. This project aims to set a precedent for the effective recycling of waste in the region.

Mutallimov shared that the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, with the assistance of experts from the UN Environment Program, conducted laboratory analysis of samples taken from debris in Shusha city and the Aghdam district. The analysis confirmed that the waste is suitable for recycling and can be utilized in construction activities.

In addition to Mutallimov's presentation, Irada Huseynova, a member of the Working Group on Ecological Issues and Vice-President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), highlighted the significance of Shusha for every Azerbaijani citizen, as it was emphasized by the National Leader Heydar Aliyev.

She pointed out that after the liberation of Azerbaijani lands by the victorious Azerbaijani army, scientific organizations and researchers enjoying the opportunities created for the "Great Return of Science" to Karabakh have been carrying out comprehensive biological and radiological monitoring, studying the land and water resources in the region, including Shusha and its surrounding area.

During the meeting, Irada Huseynova presented valuable information about the landscape, soil cover, biological diversity, and rich flora and fauna of the Shusha district, including the Dashalti State Nature Reserve. She highlighted the presence of rare species from the "Red Book" of the Republic of Azerbaijan inhabiting these areas. The presentation included details about the results of biological, radiological, and microbiological monitoring conducted by relevant research institutes, shedding light on the ecological health of the region.

The presentation also revealed that two substantial chapters in a book published by the renowned Springer publishing house in English are dedicated to the medicinal and food plants of Karabakh and their use by the local Azerbaijani population. This highlights the rich natural resources and traditional knowledge of the region that can contribute to its sustainable development.

Furthermore, a representative from the State Agency for Water Resources of Azerbaijan provided important information about the reconstruction of the drinking water supply systems in Shusha. In the first phase of the project, new reservoirs were constructed to ensure a sustainable water supply for the city, benefiting around 25,000 people while considering the city's future development needs.

To meet the city's demand for drinking water, existing sources such as Kichik Kirs, Zarisli, and the Zarislichay reservoir, commissioned in 2022, will be utilized. Additionally, three reservoirs with a total capacity of 6,000 cubic meters are being planned to further ensure a sustainable water supply for Shusha.

The construction of the first reservoir is set to be completed by the end of the current year. In addition, water treatment facilities with a capacity of 8,000 cubic meters per day are being constructed to ensure the complete purification and treatment of wastewater generated in Shusha city, contributing to environmental protection and sustainable water management practices.

Following the liberation of Shusha, the restoration work for the city's drinking water supply was promptly initiated. A project was introduced to create an alternative water source due to a significant decrease in the productivity of the Kichik Kirs and Zarisli springs at certain times of the year. To address this, a reservoir with a capacity of 25,000 cubic meters was constructed in the Zarisli River bed. The project also included the establishment of a pumping station and a new pressure pipeline extending 2.9 kilometers.

Thanks to these efforts, water supply from the new source was made available to the city in December of the previous year. Additionally, there are plans to expand the Zarislichay reservoir, increasing its capacity to 7.5 million cubic meters, further ensuring a stable and sufficient water supply for Shusha.

During the meeting, the participants engaged in discussions about the prospects of utilizing construction and demolition waste as secondary raw materials. Strategies to minimize environmental impact during road infrastructure projects, protection, and enhancement of green vegetation in Shusha, as well as the supply of materials needed for the construction of the Shusha road, were also addressed. Effective waste management solutions for the waste generated during construction works in the liberated territories were part of the discussions.

Furthermore, environmental assessments of projects implemented in Shusha city were reviewed to ensure sustainable and eco-friendly development in the region. After the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to visit the Dashalti State Nature Reserve and the Topkhana Forest, gaining firsthand knowledge of the natural treasures of the area. Additionally, they were acquainted with the functioning of the automatic meteorological station in the city, contributing to improved understanding and management of climatic conditions in the region.