Since the beginning of the war, repressions in Belarus have intensified, which makes it very difficult to monitor the environmental situation in different regions of the country, environmentalists say.
"The activities of environmental activists, who at least somehow controlled the situation, the activities of "Ekodom" are now impossible in Belarus.
We can only look at the official information that is published, but in which there is no trust.
It is very difficult to objectively assess the environmental situation in Belarus.
Now, people who want to protect trees go on a "day" and the riot police comes to them.
Therefore, it is very difficult to learn anything about the situation on the ground.
People concerned about the environment have become less active, because they worry about their safety," says Iryna Sukhii.
Iryna notes that the ecological situation in Belarus began to worsen not with the beginning of the war, but with the beginning of the political crisis and the migrant crisis on the borders with the European Union.
"Migrants along the border cut down trees, lit fires.
All this situation led to the fact that Lithuania, Poland, all countries are building or have already built fences (on the border with Belarus. — RS).
This is very bad for biodiversity conservation.
Now the populations are separated, and if the animals cannot mix, it leads to the degradation of the gene pool.
The border with Ukraine is mined.
Animals there can be blown up by mines."
"If there is no public control, emissions situations will hide what is dangerous to people's health"
A very serious problem arose due to the fact that Russian troops entered the contaminated territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Irina Sukhii is convinced.
"They traveled through the heavily polluted territory of the nuclear power plant and returned to Belarus.
No one checked them, no one checked the equipment that arrived on Belarusian territory, no one engaged in this monitoring.
They could bring with them dangerous particles, radionuclides.
No one is concerned about this.
In addition, we eliminated the state committee that dealt with Chernobyl issues, saying that the consequences of Chernobyl have been overcome and now there is no need to monitor it," says Irina.
The bias of state policy will increase towards economic problems as opposed to environmental ones, the ecologist is convinced.
"We had problems even before the war, because it was cheaper for enterprises to pay a fine for any emissions than to find money for additional treatment systems.
If there is no public control, emissions situations will be hidden.
It is dangerous for people's health, not only for the environment.
If earlier Belarus made great efforts to make production more energy efficient, now, according to official statistics, the reverse process has occurred: the energy intensity of production has increased from 2020 to 2021."
"There will be a serious setback in the state of the environment"
The fact that there is no access to European aid in the field of the environment, UN projects, plays a big role in the process of increasing environmental problems, Irina notes.
Also, the ecologist believes that it is difficult to estimate how much time it will take to solve the environmental problems that arose due to the political crisis in Belarus and the war in Ukraine.
"You can be sure that the state will not invest money in ecology, and everything will degrade," Irina notes.
- Well, it wasn't so much before, but there were at least some international mechanisms that stimulated and attracted public decision-making.
Now there are no such mechanisms, there is no external pressure.
And I think that we will have a serious setback in the situation with the state of the environment.
And we will be able to understand how much time we will need only if we have access to the data."
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