Barents sea ecology danger

A big landfill for the Moscow garbage is being created in the Russian North. People are struggling against it.

For almost a year the residents of the Arkhangelsk region have been in a state of constant struggle for their rights and for the future of their children. In the lack of open and trustworthy information and in terms of manipulation with public opinion, under pressure and in silence on the urgent topic.

We may lose the Russian North due to the authorities’ decision to turn our region into a dump for Moscow garbage. The unwillingness of the Moscow government to create the civilized waste management system led to the decision to export garbage to other regions.

Nowadays the garbage is being exported to Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Kaluga, Kostroma regions. In 2018, a decision was taken to organize the biggest European landfill here in the south of our region near the train station Shiyes.

There is an evident violation of the law during the implementation of this project. The construction of the facility is being carried out without project documents, without environmental assessment, without geological research, without public hearings. But forests have already been cut down, thousands of workers are working for days, construction objects have been built. At the same time, the authorities deny the fact of construction by calling the evident appearance as “preparatory work”.

It is known that the operation of the facility will use the most “harmful” technology – tons of unsorted trash will be grinded and packed in Moscow and then taken hundreds of kilometers to the station Shies in the Arkhangelsk region for being buried for decades. The planned area of the landfill is 3000 hectares; the volume of stored garbage is 2.3 million tons per year. The construction of the landfill is conducted on wetlands. The Shiyes marshes feed the rivers Shiyes and Upper Lupya. These rivers flow into the Northern Dvina River, which, in turn, flows into the White Sea.

At the same time, investors and the government refer to European experience and technology. Among partners of the project there are Swedish, German and Swiss firms such as Flexus Balasystem AB (Sweden), EuRec Technology GmbH (Germany), GC Satarem (Switzerland). According to authorities, these companies will supply equipment and provide expert support. Also lobbyists of the project say about the interest in the project implementation in Norway by referring to the Finnish experience.

At the same time, the burial of compressed bales is not usual in Sweden. Information from the Sweco International AB (Sweco), an independent commercial architectural and technical company with headquarters in Sweden.In some cases, wrapping compressed waste into a plastic cover is used for transportation over long distances and short-term (one year) storage in Sweden, for example, residual waste from the island of Gotland. It may tell about another attempt of the authorities to introduce residents of the region to confusion as well as about the possible desire of individual companies to sell “dirty” technology.

For many months now thousands of people go to streets to protect their right to a favorable environment. They require compliance legislation and stopping illegal construction. Biggest promotions of the protest took place on December 2, 2018, February 3 and April 7, 2019.

On April 7th, 2019, thousands of people gathered at the central square of Arkhangelsk, even though the authorities had agreed on the venue of the rally in the suburbs again.

But instead of respectful and fair attitude residents are experiencing pressure. Several dozen activists were victims of law enforcement. Withdrawal of equipment, arrests, fines – it all happens all the time.

Mostly under pressure are people on round-the-clock duty at the construction site. The duty is already taken for several months in order to fix violations during the construction. All this time members of the so called watch among the locals were trying to get at least some information about the construction.

Hope that you will be able to have a certain impact on this situation, because it violates both our and your rights.