Alexander Shadrikov on WIP: ‘The experts confirm the environmental friendliness of this plant’

The republic’s ecology minister answered Tatarstan residents’ questions in a live transmission

Alexander Shadrikov on WIP: ‘The experts confirm the environmental friendliness of this plant’
Photo: Maxim Platonov

Russia’s environmental watchdog approved the revegetation of a silt site near Otary settlement, head of Tatarstan’s Ministry of Ecology Alexander Shadrikov said this on 2 March during an online conference. The republican authorities are going to help residents of the Kazan suburbs get rid of a bad smell soon, which has been bothering them for over 50 years. However, other districts of the republic too suffer from this problem. Moreover, 82% of treatment facilities don’t meet requirements. The Tatarstan minister answered how Tatarstan fight negligent owners of treatment facilities, when the republic would finally start to sort out waste and drive e-cars in a live transmission.

Manufacturing enterprises invest around 7bn in environment

Services of the republic’s Ministry of Ecology carried out over 4 million measurements of different parameters of the environment last year. In general the maximum permissible concentration exceeded 0,04%, said Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Tatarstan Alexander Shadrikov on 2 March during an online conference. The industry’s operation didn’t cease since the beginning of the pandemic in Tatarstan, moreover, the quality of the air last year was better compared to 2019, the minister noted. The number of residents’ complaints in Nizhnekamsk where 65 industrial enterprises are located decreased 6,5 times, Alexander Shadrikov noted.

The number of residents’ complaints in Nizhnekamsk where 65 industrial enterprises are located decreased 6,5 times. Photo: tida.tatarstan.ru
  • Over 8,500 complaints about environmental violations were received last year, in 2019, their number totalled around 13,000.
  • The Tatarstan Ministry of Ecology oversees eight administrations that detected more than 5,000 environmental violations. 468 violations of water legislation (including 63 reports on restriction of access to water bodies), 330 violations in air protection, 2,000 violations in waste management, 348 — in use of land, 112 — as a result of earth damage are among them.
  • In this regard, 29 criminal cases were opened, the operation of five companies was suspended, 77,6m rubles of fines were imposed.

The head of the ministry explains what funding was allocated for environmental protection measures. In 2019, 1,2bn rubles were spent on Ecology national project.

  • Last year, 2,8bn rubles were invested in this programme, including in the conservation of unique places, integrated solid waste management, preservation of forests, provision of clean water, rehabilitation of the Volga River.
  • Moreover, 1,8bn rubles were spent on environmental protection measures, manufacturing enterprises invested another 6,86bn rubles. Tatarstan is in first place in the amount of investments in fixed capital in environmental protection in the Volga Federal District, Shadrikov stressed.
  • 1,7bn rubles are going to be spent on environmental protection in Tatarstan within the national project. 2,8 billion rubles is due to be invested in 2022, 2,14bn — in 2023.

How to get rid of unpleasant smells

Otary settlement that has been suffering from unpleasant smells for over 50 years, stilt of Kazan treatment facilities has been accumulating next to it. Last year, the president of the republic asked to closely deal with this place.

Otary settlement that has been suffering from unpleasant smells for over 50 years, stilt of Kazan treatment facilities has been accumulating next to it. Photo: Dmitry Reznov

“We set three key tasks: disinfection, decontamination and dehydration of this stilt sediment. We were offered over 32 technologies, we searched around the world which technology to use to revegetate this area. The problem is very serious, and Russia’s Ministry of Nature entrusted us with implementing a pilot project precisely in Kazan. There has never been such an integrated approach. Yesterday we received a positive environmental assessment of Russia’s environmental watchdog. Independent experts wrote it. Consequently, we received a positive assessment of a silt revegatation technology. We had been moving to this for long, experts were scrupulous about every detail. While everything is important in this work. At first, we had 137 different remarks about the technology, and engineers solved all these problems,” the minister shared the news.

Specialists will examine the cost of this project, they are planning to elaborate this issue and start the revegetation this year. There will be a recreational area there, Alexander Shadrikov said.

The Samosyrovo landfill was revegetated, but a neighbouring residential area also complains about bad smells the hill emits. Alexander Shadrikov explained that the ministry together with Kazan’s Executive Committee planned to include this facility to Clean Country programme. They also closely work with the owner of the neighbouring Vostochny landfill. Gas that is emitted due to organic decay will generate electrical energy as a result, the minister said.

The Samosyrovo landfill was revegetated, but a neighbouring residential area also complains about bad smells the hill emits. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Tatneft did research and told us that 1,5 MW of electrical energy could be generated for 20-25 years (the terms of reference envisage 1,5 generators). In other words, gases won’t end up in the atmosphere, 1,5 MW can be produced,” the head of the Ministry of Ecology explained.

They suppose to start the works in this area this year, while the programme will be implemented in the next 2-3 years, Shadrikov promised.

But people don’t like the smells not only around Samosyrovo, residents of Aviastroitelny District complained too. The minister said that mobile ecolabs worked near the landfills for 1,5 months around the clock, they determined what environmental damage these landfills do. They want to do the same job on Belomorskaya Street in Aviastroitelny District. The mobile post will hand over information to the Ecology Ministry’s server to detect the source of smells.

Complaints about smells of sewage in Kuyuki where complexes of blocks of flats don’t have a central drainage system were received. “Our colleagues will answer in the evening. We will invite the head of this residential complex and solve this problem,” the minister promised.

The mobile post will hand over information to the Ecology Ministry’s server to detect the source of smells. Photo: eco.tatarstan.ru

Better warn than fine

Tatarstan has 181 treatment facilities. The Tatarstan Ministry of Ecology controls all facilities on the republican president’s instruction. 131 treatment facilities dispose of sewage in water bodies. Tatarstan has 1,5 million cubic metres of sewage a day, a half comes from fields, the minister said.

Kazan’s Vodokanal water service company makes the biggest contribution to the republic among 10 big treatment facilities of the republic — 42%. Since 2021, this enterprise has joined the Volga rehabilitation programme. A contract for 1,3bn rubles has already been signed, works within this programme have already begun. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC accounts for 10% ofsewage treatment, Kazanorgsintez does 3%.

Over 1,2bn rubles have been invested in the reconstruction and construction of treatment facilities in municipalities from the republic’s budget since 2014. However, 82% of the facilities don’t provide proper treatment, noted Alexander Shadrikov.

“Not all owners of treatment facilities understand, it is necessary to certainly fine or open criminal cases. Only after that they start to modernise treatment facilities and reconstruct them. Of course, we shouldn’t come to this. Our role, that of the Ministry of Ecology, is not to punish, not only to punish. We should give a tip to those who probably didn’t do with malice. This is why we try to reach out to every owner, it is better to invest in treatment facilities, reconstruction than pay fines,” the head of the ministry stressed.

Over 1,2bn rubles have been invested in the reconstruction and construction of treatment facilities in municipalities from the republic’s budget since 2014. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Again, about regulated waste treatment

“The doctor should treat, the teacher should teach, the constructor should build,” Alexander Shadrikov said when talking about the construction of a waste incineration plant. “There is an investor to build it... Our president tasked us with inviting the best independent experts existing in the world. We want experts to analyse and tell us if this waste incineration plant is eco-friendly today or not. The experts confirm the environmental friendliness of this plant based on grating firing. Information is spread... What is the Samosyrovo landfill, moreover, if it closes? It is unregulated decay, burning. When we talk about the waste incineration plant, it is regulated and, most importantly, controlled.”

He reminded us that Germany has 72 waste incineration plants, there are around 2,000 of such plants around the world. Moreover, Tatarstan resident can see the original version of the independent assessment as well as its translation into Russian on the website of the Ministry of Ecology.

Kazan plans to start to sort out waste

The issue of separate waste collection won’t be resolved in a year, the head of the ministry is sure. A big educational work is necessary for this, a special department of the Ministry of Ecology deals with it.

“We don’t have the right to bury over 80 names of waste from 2022,” Alexandr Shadrikov said.

He said that over 58 tonnes of batteries were collected in educational establishments in Tatarstan within a joint project with Duracell.

Viewers of the online conference wrote they often saw bin lorry drivers empty waste from different bins into one container. The minister replied environmental services didn’t register such facts.

“It isn’t an instruction of the head of the regional operator. It is probably a decision of the person who is at the wheel of this vehicle,” Shadrikov added.

Dual waste collection accounts for 71% of all waste in Kazan. In 2021, the Tatarstan capital plans to cover the whole city with separate waste collection. And the school eco patrol actively helps here as well as environmental activists who organise environmental sessions, camps in courtyards.

The issue of separate waste collection won’t be resolved in a year, the head of the ministry is sure. A big educational work is necessary for this. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

To make rivers healthier

The Krasny Klyuch Dam, which from time to time was filled with water and people used boats to move, in Nizhnekamsk was a serious problem for decades. The dam was planned to be reinforced by 2021. However, works ended earlier, the problem is solved, Alexander Shadrikov claimed. A 2,1-km long dam was reconstructed on the left Kama riverbank, which has three settlements, three children’s camps and 100 engineering facilities, by investing over 887 million rubles.

Also, it is planned to dismantle an inactive oil pipeline in Tukay District within the Volga rehabilitation programme. The pipeline turned out to be under water and poses a risk. The Russian Ministry of Nature included these works in Ecology national project. While a company will co-finance the dismantlement and invest 200 million rubles within public and private partnership.

In answer to Kazan citizens’ questions about the treatment of the Noksa River streambed. The head of the ministry said that the problem needs to be solved. But firstly, they need engineering documentation, the cost sheet, an assessment. Before this, Kazan’s Executive Committee should agree the terms of reference for the regional or federal programme.

Alexander Shadrikov explained to Tatarstan residents who were concerned about the quantity of fish in rivers that the Tatarstan Committee for Biological Resources does an active work, artificial breeding grounds are created. Volga Vastness protected nature reserve was created in Zaymische. Tatarstan created 10 breeding grounds of sturgeon in water, the minister noted. He provided numbers of a republican R&D Centre, which is also responsible for biological resources. According to the statistics, the number of juvenile fish increased by 68% last year.

In answer to Kazan citizens’ questions about the treatment of the Noksa River streambed. The head of the ministry said that the problem needs to be solved. But firstly, they need engineering documentation, the cost sheet. Photo: Leysan Nabiyeva

Ecologists and traffic police will check car emissions

E-cars have a future, Alexander Shadrikov is sure. He said that the contribution of cars to emissions in Kazan is 52%. The traffic police registered 1,750 e-cars in Tatarstan. The minister provided the numbers and noted that it is necessary to create infrastructure for e-transport to charge it. The head of the Ministry of Ecology reminded the viewers that mobile phones used to be expensive too. But progress cheapens technologies, this is why he thinks that e-cars will become more available in the future.

As for ads about removal of catalysts in cars, Shadrikov noted that in this case, an Euro 3 engine becomes an Euro 2 engine. The minister warned that employees of the ministry and traffic police will examine the quality of car emissions within Clean Air project. Last year, 200 drivers were fined for such violations.

This year the republic will take on a project to conserve water facilities in Laishevo and Mamadysh Districts, the creation of Ak Bars Centre for Rare Cat Species in Kamskoye Ustye District goes on. Now its design is being approved and land parcels are registered.

Ecospring starts on 1 April. Alexander Shadrikov urged Tatarstan residents to participate in Saturday cleanup campaigns, simply clean their courtyards and entries. He reminded them they could send their complaints to official accounts of the Ministry of Ecology and call at 267-68-67.

By Yekaterina Ablayeva
Analytics Tatarstan