State Duma adopts law on the elimination of environmental damage by owners

Industrialists are now obliged to eliminate the consequences of negative impact on the environment

The bill has been passed in Russia obliging industrialists to eliminate the consequences of negative impacts on the environment. The norms establish the responsibility of companies for the entire life cycle of facilities and do not allow them to shut down hazardous production facilities without eliminating accumulated harm to the environment. Many oil chemical companies are gradually changing their corporate culture. For Nizhnekamsk, where 18% of the main production assets of the republic are concentrated, representing the basic industries of the country, environmental issues are always relevant. How environmental risks are already being minimised in the region and what measures are still needed to meet the requirements of the time — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Petrochemical capital of Tatarstan

Nizhnekamsk district, one of the key oil refining territories of Tatarstan, accounts for 25% of all products produced in the republic and about 30% of exports. More than 60 industrial enterprises and 6 thousand air pollution points are concentrated here.

To solve environmental problems, an interdepartmental working group was established in Nizhnekamsk in 2006, which included large enterprises of the petrochemical complex.

Air samples in the petrochemical capital of Tatarstan are now taken several times a day. To do this, fixed stations have been installed. The data is automatically transmitted to the Ministry of Environment to keep the situation under control.

Nevertheless, as it became known at the recent final board meeting of the republican Ministry of Environment, last year more than 20 complaints about air quality were received from Nizhnekamsk residents. Experts identified the source of emissions. It turned out to be Kamastal PLC, a resident of Nizhnekamsk PSEDA, which paints coiled steel. The company was brought to justice — it was obliged to install new filtration equipment.

Meanwhile, the work of the industrial giants such as Nizhnekamskneftekhim, part of SIBUR, Nizhnekamskshina, Nizhnekamsktekhuglerod, TAIF-NK and TANECO, raises fewer and fewer questions among environmentalists. Meeting the requirements of the time, the enterprises maintain the natural balance by introducing environmentally friendly production.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim contributes to preservation of the environment. The company has reconstructed biological treatment facilities, where wastewater from the entire industrial hub and the city is treated. To increase the throughput and reliability of the transportation system, a new collector for chemically polluted wastewater was laid. More than 3 billion rubles were allocated for the reconstruction of the BTF.

“New buildings and structures were reconstructed and built: receiving chamber, disposal basin for collecting polymer chips with a gas outlet, grit chambers, unit for removing volatile hydrocarbons, and gas cleaning unit. The absolute tightness of all facilities eliminates the possibility of unpleasant odours entering the atmosphere during wastewater treatment. Another feature of the modernisation is the latest gas cleaning units — biofilters populated with special types of bacteria that fight unpleasant odours. All this made it possible to reduce the load on the atmospheric air of Nizhnekamsk," Rustem Kamalov, the head of the Volga-Kama Ecological Centre, noted in an interview.

Thanks to the reconstruction of the BTF in Nizhnekamsk, the number of complaints from the population about unpleasant odours in the air has sharply decreased. If earlier at least 50 appeals were received by Rospotrebnadzor, not counting negative posts on social networks, then last year only five were recorded, the chief sanitary doctor of the Nizhnekamsk Municipal District, Rustem Iziyatullin, noted to Realnoe Vremya.

“Nizhnekamskneftekhim works, carries out environmental protection measures even in the conditions of the global economic downturn. The company is more than 50 years old, has a long work experience. There used to be other environmental requirements, not as strict as they are now. We must pay tribute to the enterprise, they do a lot," says Rustem Iziyatullin, the head of the territorial department of the Rospotrebnadzor Department for the Republic of Tatarstan in the Nizhnekamsk Municipal District.

Despite the increase in production volumes, Nizhnekamskneftekhim reduces the burden on the environment. Since 2001, output has increased almost 2 times, and emissions have decreased by 47%.

This year Nizhnekamskneftekhim is embarking on the third stage of the BTF reconstruction. The company plans to re-equip the tertiary treatment station and the decontamination unit. Wastewater disinfection will be carried out using ultraviolet lamps. The works will be carried out as part of the implementation of the fifth environmental programme, designed for 2022-2025, the planned cost of its implementation is 12,5 billion rubles.

The company also plans to replace the burner units on the furnaces, reconstruct the industrial waste landfill and reclaim the sludge piles.

Introduction of circular economy

TAIF-NK also has its own environmental programmes. Five years ago, a local industrial wastewater treatment plant was put into operation there. The nature protection facility has started operating on the principle of a closed water cycle. Since 2006, the company has reduced emissions into the atmosphere by 33%, or by 5,8 thousand tonnes a year. A significant role in improving the ecological background in the region was played by the vapor recovery system. It captures hydrocarbons and returns them back to production.

One hundred percent of the treated wastewater is also returned to the production of another oil refining company — TANECO. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a promising direction is being developed here — carbon capture and storage. In the process of hydrogen production, carbon dioxide is formed at the enterprise, which is used to increase oil recovery, which makes it possible to close the production chain and serves as an example of the introduction of a circular economy.

Energy companies also conduct an effective environmental policy. One of the major resource-saving investment projects of recent years is the technical re-equipment of the condensate treatment unit of chemical shop No. 1, the introduction of which in cooperation with Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC ensured the acceptance of returnable industrial condensate into the station cycle.

New ways to combat pollution

According to experts, the environmental responsibility of enterprises today is not only a mandatory law, but also a mechanism for the sustainable development of companies. “Green” technologies increase reputation, create investment attractiveness. Director of the NKR rating agency Dmitry Orekhov notes that the “green” agenda is important for corporations for several reasons.

“Firstly, following the established principles helps to reduce the negative impact of companies on the environment. Secondly, in the future, the financing of green projects will be associated with a reduction in the cost of funding the company — currently, the financing of a conventional and green project does not differ in cost. Thirdly, the openness of the environmental agenda can help attract additional capital to the company from foreign investors," he believes.

In December last year, the issue of transition to a green economy for industrialists became more relevant than ever. The State Duma has made over 100 amendments to the law on ecology. They radically change the attitude to the use of natural resources, increase responsibility for the environment at all levels.

One of the key points is the law on secondary material resources, expanded responsibility of manufacturers and importers for the disposal of goods and packaging.

Industrial enterprises will have to think over how to safely dispose of their products and packaging. Another innovation: owners will not be able to avoid paying fines for environmental damage.

The measures taken will not only improve the environmental situation, but also form new principles of environmental responsibility and business conduct. Including for a number of Nizhnekamsk enterprises that shelved environmental issues.

Lilia Yegorova