Reality of environmental profits in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is one of the twenty countries that mostly pollute the atmosphere. Thus, in the published list of most polluted cities of the world, compiled by British Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which was attended by 215 major world cities, the capital of Azerbaijan was the most polluted city, with the index of 27.6 points. This ranking is based on the results of complex studies, takes into account the level of air pollution, the degree of recycling, the suitability of water for drinking and other factors. All cities are compared with New York, which gained 100 points. The most pure city was Calgary in Canada (137 points). After Azerbaijan, the second most polluted city was in Dhaka in Bangladesh (29.6), the third - Antananarivo in Madagascar (30.1), the fourth - Port-au-Prince in Haiti (34). Moscow gained 43.4 points and 14th place.

Results of researches showed that environmental pollution by toxic products by force of human activities in Azerbaijan, which is rated among developing Asian and African countries, has reached the maximum. One of the reasons is that most part of Azerbaijani economy is based on oil and gas, whilst the old-dated technology does not enable to utilize wastes. As a result, combustion materials instigate further hotbed effect.

Accumulation of carbonic acid in atmosphere as a result of hotbed effect impact the atmosphere as a glass in greenhouse: it transmits the sun radiation and does not transmits back to space the infrared (thermo) radiation of the Earth. It might lead to global climatic changes, which is one actual problems of the present. The consequences of the climatic changes are conditioned not only by thoughts of ecological security. This is a complex problem related to ensuring stable socio-economic development.

To increase the fibre of socio-economic infrastructure with regard to climatic changes, to soften the predicted negative changes, to prevent possible catastrophic and irreversible results in future, to reduce economic expenditure for eliminating such outcomes in future, it is necessary to take adequate steps to react and adapt to observed and predicted climatic changes.

Ecological problems have evolved in the city a long ago, following increase of its industry, increased transport burden, other famous and peculiar aspects of activities in such big citiesи. According to the National Center of Ecological Forecasting, 60-70 percent of ecological pollution of Baku falls on automobile transport and 30-40 percent on industrial enterprises.

Although over recent years, declining was recorded in the industrial production, it turned out that the decline practically did not reduce the rate of the main polluters - industrial enterprises, which still continue to operate in the city, including refineries, thermal power, metallurgy, and similar productions, which provide a huge volume of harmful emissions.

Next largest share among all the polluters falls on combustion products of organic fuels. And their highest air pollution are currently cars, which are largely and with poor condition used in the city. Especially air pollution is characterized, first of all, for the central part of the city, suffering from oversaturation of transport. Each car is poisoning the air with lead, the exhaust gases from the combustion products, abrasion rubber tires. During the month of "Clean air" held last year, the State Car Service of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources identified 6,112 cars emitting toxic substances, the volume of which exceeds the norm. In general, in 2008, it became clear that the motor of 9,211 vehicles produce toxic substances in volumes exceeding the norm.

At the same time, the country feels ecological tension from the intensive construction work being carried out in the country. Any type of construction leads to the violation of ecology. Overall processes, ranging from delivery of construction materials to erection of new building, pose irreparable damage to ecology of Baku and impact the human health. One can see smog looking like cloud over the sky of Baku at any time of the day. This is the same very concentration of cement dust, soil, ashes and exhaust of bulldozers and concrete mixers, which specialists of the Ecology Ministry and NGOs are dealing with.

According to the Ministry, the level of dustiness in Baku exceeds the norms by 1.3 times, whilst the independent experts urge this figure to reach five.

Furthermore, one can observe mass cut of trees in many parts of the city due to construction of high buildings and expansion of roads. Though green plantings occupied 20 percent of territory of Absheron peninsular around 50 years ago, now the figure has reduced by 10 times. 60 percent of territory is covered by woods in Berlin.

Along with its current ecological state Azerbaijan remains one of leading countries for number of effective projects on improvement of ecological situation. The country puts every effort to facilitate results of climatic changes by applying new and expanded the existing projects. 

As to fighting with toxic substances thrown by cars into the atmosphere, the ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has submitted to the government Action plan on adjusting technical norms of car wastes to atmosphere in line with the European standards on prevention of toxic wastes throwing into the air in the volume exceeding the norm. The program envisages ban on import of old-dated cars from Russia and Europe and limits on their use in Azerbaijan. Should this proposal is accepted, cars with the exploitation term of above five years (for developed countries) will not be allowed the country. Optimal term of exploitation for cars from Russia and CIS should not exceed three years.

However, cut in number of old-dated cars in the country cannot be fundamental solution to all problems. It is necessary to pay attention to quality of diesel fuel produced in the country, because it does not meet the contemporary ecological requirements. According to experts' estimation, to achieve a breakthrough in the solution of ecological problems of megapolis, like Baku, it is necessary to renew technological base of enterprises producing fuel for cars.

Obviously, it is impossible to solve all ecological problems of big city at once, even if to impose fines on violators, whom the Ecology Ministry announces in media. Probably, sum of fines do not solve the problem - over 7 months of 2009 fines imposed on violators for law-breaks in protected natural territory of Azerbaijan has made up 41,000 manat. One of NGOs indicated bp, which was fined by $350 million for violation of ecological norms in Alaska.

Indeed, the construction of advanced garbage processing plants can be, or should be, one of more prospective solutions. Furthermore, collection and utilization of wastes could bring profits if to approach reasonably. Especially, it concerns the secondary refinery of bottler glass, spoilage, polymer materials, and spent rubber tires. Namely, the secondary processing of some kinds of wastes (rubber tires, polymer wastes and other) could bring high profits in case of wise policy, including tax policy, and solution of purely ecological problems.

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