Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has been going on for a year now, is causing enormous damage to Ukraine’s ecology – and this will have far-reaching consequences for the entire region. This conclusion was drawn by the specialists of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on the basis of their own data and data provided by Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Turkish scientists.
Russia is deliberately destroying important infrastructure in Ukraine, resulting in dangerous environmental destruction. “As a result of the conflict, damage was caused to nuclear power plants, energy infrastructure, tankers, refineries, drilling platforms, gas installations and distribution pipelines, mines and industrial installations, as well as than agro-industrial facilities,” said a senior official. said researcher at the United Nations Information Service at UNEP Andrea Hinwood.
Many industrial facilities, warehouses and factories were damaged, where hazardous substances were stored: solvents, ammonia and plastics. Targeted Russian artillery strikes on fuel depots led to the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Emissions of hazardous substances have also occurred as a result of explosions in warehouses of the agro-industrial complex, including plants for the production of fertilizers and nitric acid.
“A total of 582 objects were damaged in December 2022, including critical industrial infrastructure businesses, 1,121 incidents were recorded,” Hinwood said.
Hinwood said that as a result of Russian bombardments of residential areas across the country, buildings are being damaged and emitting asbestos dust into the air. Many buildings in Ukraine were built before asbestos was officially recognized as a dangerous carcinogen. A large amount of asbestos dust in the air of Ukrainian settlements poses a serious danger to human health.
According to the UN, since the beginning of the war, at least 20% of the territory of all nature reserves in Ukraine have been affected, 812 natural objects are threatened. As a result of hostilities in the Black Sea, about three thousand dolphins died.
War poses an environmental threat to the entire region. “If a specific facility located near the border is damaged, the toxic substances that have entered the air, water or soil, of course, will not stop at the border, they will pollute the resources of the neighboring state,” Hinwood said.
The UN representative believes that in conditions of active hostilities it is very difficult to actively engage in environmental protection, since the priority is the protection of life and property. Therefore, the senior UNEP scientist is convinced that the most important thing right now is to end the war. According to her, in the process of future reconstruction of the country, UNEP will help Ukraine to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly economy.
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