The stench of the Khilok Triangle in Novosibirsk reached Moscow

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The stench of the Khilok Triangle in Novosibirsk reached Moscow
The stench of the Khilok Triangle in Novosibirsk reached Moscow
18 November, 11:21Society
For the eleventh year, Novosibirsk residents have been fighting the Khilok Triangle, a disaster area on the outskirts of the Left Bank, where a giant cemetery, a rotting landfill and a vegetable market run into residential areas.

All these years, the mayor's office and environmental oversight have remained blind to obvious violations. Finally, people's complaints were heard in Moscow.

Julia Suntsova

Residents of Malygina Street in the Leninsky District of Novosibirsk were recognized as victims in a criminal case on unsanitary living conditions. The head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Alexander Bastrykin, asks his colleagues to report on the criminal case initiated on the fact of the “unfavorable environmental situation” in the regional center (the corresponding release was published on the website of the Investigative Committee).

For more than a decade, Novosibirsk residents have been living in the epicenter of an environmental and social catastrophe and remain invisible to the regional authorities. The public organization "Center for Legal Initiatives of Consumers" united residents who do not want to put up with a gross violation of their rights. The activists received many replies from Rospotrebnadzor, the prosecutor's office, and the mayor's office. They held a rally. Lawsuits were filed. But the cart didn't move.

According to the most conservative estimates, the shadow turnover of the Khilok market can be 3 billion rubles a month, and it happens that they sell not only vegetables and fruits here. In 2012, natives of Central Asia who sold heroin were tried - the criminals brought 80 kilograms of the drug to Novosibirsk, hiding them in apples.

For more than a decade, residents of the surrounding microdistricts have been insisting on the closure of the market due to violations of sanitary and epidemiological standards and migration laws.

If desired, this could be done once or twice. At the disposal of law enforcement agencies is a reinforced concrete nuance that is absolutely impossible to ignore, namely: a detrimental effect on the life and health of people.

"The Levoberezhny solid waste landfill belongs to the municipality. II category according to the degree of negative impact on the environment. There is no license for processing, neutralization and disposal of waste. The landfill was entered into the state register only in 2018. The scope of "Levoberezhny" has already exceeded 18 hectares and is constantly increasing, and the boundaries of unauthorized landfills are approaching the residential sector. Residents in the Leninsky district are constantly watching rats, birds feeding on this dump. I'm not talking about the amber and smog, in which people suffocate and are forced to leave with bouts of sick leave", - says the leader of the "Center for Consumer Legal Initiatives" Mikhail Mikhailov.

How do officials react? Firstly, they do not point-blank at exceeding the maximum permissible concentration of harmful substances (with the exception of periods when the landfill is on fire). Secondly, on artificial grounds, the sanitary zone is reduced from 1000 to floating 80-100 meters in order to prove that the object does not have a negative impact.

Fire and rescue units react 6-9 times a year to fires at the landfill. Waste of hazardous production is brought to it, among other things.

"When the landfill ignites and burns, poisonous smoke and gas are formed, which spread over quite long distances. It is clear that it is completely useless to breathe them. When biochemical waste is mixed with industrial waste, biochemical reactions occur that generate poisons. Toxic liquid - filtrate - contains high concentrations of chlorides, sulfates, metal nitrites, heavy organic acids, catastrophically harmful mercury compounds. With the environmental monitoring center, we carried out sampling, leachate collection. Even then, a few years ago, there were a lot of different excesses. I remember that the samples had to be diluted 50 times in order to evaluate the composition in principle. It is unacceptable to have such large operating dumps within the city, so close to residential areas and shopping facilities", - comments Yulia Kolevatova, environmentalist of the SibEcoCentre public organization.

According to the latest published examinations of independent environmentalists, in samples from the landfill, sulfur exceeded the maximum permissible concentration by 71 times, arsenic - by 398 times, chromium - by 3020 times, lead, copper, zinc, and cadmium were also above the norm. The wind carries the ash, it also settles on food products - the market is just a kilometer away.

The landfill behind the Khiloksky market is constantly smoldering, and in spring and summer it ignites with open fire, which is why the entire Left Bank of Novosibirsk is enveloped in suffocating smog. In 2022, the landfill smoked for four consecutive months. After each fire, officials each time solemnly announce that they are taking the landfill under protection, strengthening security measures, but a year later everything repeats again, comments Svetlana Fedchenko, a resident of the Left Bank.

Suspended particles that are in the air have a lot of negative effects - this is the allergization of the body, and the toxic effect and carcinogens. The risk of developing cancer increases dramatically if a person stays in a cloud of this smoke and burning for a long time, comments MD, Professor Lyubov Kudelya.

"The theory of scientists is confirmed by practical indicators for the region. Novosibirsk is in the top ten in terms of the number of oncological diseases. Not only oncology, but many other incurable diseases have become younger. Many people living in the Khiloksky and Malyginsky quarters suffer from chronic bronchitis, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases. Women experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The landfill, which has been burning and smoking for twenty years, is the real reason for all this", - says Anna Kleimenova, director of the charity foundation for helping children with cancer "Live".

According to federal regulations, the sanitary protection zone for landfills such as Levoberezhny is 1,000 meters; this radius should not include crowded places, inhabited residential buildings, medical and pharmacological enterprises and warehouses, and food sales.

But in the Novosibirsk region, thanks to the efforts of the local Rospotrebnadzor, the sanitary protection zone around the Khilok market has shrunk several times and turned into a variable value. In a response to residents dated August 2019, the deputy head of the department, Natalya Ilyinykh, reports: “According to the project of the estimated (preliminary) sanitary protection zone for the municipal unitary enterprise of the city of Novosibirsk “Spetsavtokhozyaystvo” a sanitary and epidemiological conclusion of the Rospotrebnadzor Administration on compliance with the requirements of sanitary rules was received . Based on the work carried out, the project approved a sanitary protection zone of variable size <…>:

  • from the south 80 meters,
  • from the southwest 430 m,
  • from the west 500 m, from the northwest 500 m,
  • from the north 200 m, from the northeast 140 m,
  • from the east 100 m, from the southeast 135 m.

In such a magical way, according to the Rospotrebnadzor of the Novosibirsk Region, the Khiloksky shopping center and the neighboring wholesale and retail market Malyginsky are not included in the sanitary protection zone of the landfill, just as residential areas of the Leninsky district are not included in it.

After the next fires at the landfill this summer, the mayor's office of Novosibirsk also secured itself. Several five-story buildings on Malygina Street, built in the 70s, were recognized as emergency and issued an order to resettle people. Only now the regional program to promote the reform of housing and communal services assumes the provision of new apartments to residents no earlier than 2023-2033. Where people should live before this time, no one specifies. But one thing is clear - since the houses are emergency, then they seem to not be considered residential, and there should not be people there. If there are no people, there is no problem. Regulations on sanitary zones protect only real residents!

Also, the position of the Novosibirsk City Hall on the issue at the moment is reduced to an appeal against the position of the prosecutor. Back in 2021, the latter asked to recognize as illegal “the inaction of the Novosibirsk mayor’s office, expressed in the failure to take measures aimed at establishing a sanitary protection zone for the Kleshchikhinskoye cemetery .” The Leninsky District Court satisfied the prosecutor's claim and charged the city with the obligation to establish a sanitary protection zone for the cemetery as a single facility. But the municipality filed an appeal and delayed the date of entry into force of the decision. In his response dated April 2022, Novosibirsk Mayor Anatoly Lokot informs residents that the development of new protective zones "if necessary, will be carried out after an assessment of the legality of the actions of the mayor's office by the court of appeal."

The mayor also answers the residents that the possibility of conservation of the Levoberezhny polygon will be considered only if it is financially supported by the budgets of the subject and the federation.

What was the cemetery trick? Human burial places also belong to zones with II category of danger. At a distance of 500 meters from the graves there should not be food industries, wholesale warehouses of food products and food raw materials, respectively, it is also not permissible to place the Khilok market where it is located now. In fact, the “demarcation” zone between the Kleshchikhinsky churchyard and the Khiloksky bazaar ranges from seven to 81 meters in some places.

- Giant cemetery "Kleshchikhinsky" on 185 hectares, the largest in the city. When it became inconvenient for Khilok, they simply cut it into small sections, assigned different cadastral numbers, and set up their own protective zone for each. If for a whole huge object the protective zone was the same 500 meters, now for the nearest small cemetery adjacent to the market, a distance of 100 meters is also permissible. Miracles and more! - says Mikhail Mikhailov.

In addition to the landfill and the cemetery, there is also the unique atmosphere of the market itself ... Its perimeter is actually a huge round-the-clock parking lot for trucks. All the streets and driveways are also lined with heavy trucks waiting to be unloaded, the engines of the trucks are constantly running so that the refrigerators do not turn off - the people around are constantly forced to breathe exhaust gases.

Sellers do not dispose of used packaging, rotting vegetables and fruits, as expected, but throw them into containers in the adjacent territories. Because of this, unpleasant odors increase.

On the territory of the former military unit along Malygina Street, large and small cattle are kept and slaughtered, which are then sold on the market, they are often slaughtered for religious rituals. Heads, entrails, animal skins are also dumped at containers near residential buildings; waste attracts stray dogs, rodents, birds and insects.

- Migrants from Central Asia who trade here behave unfriendly. Raids to identify illegal guest workers are carried out rarely and formally, most of them find out about it in advance and hide. The police withdrew from the suppression of illegal activities, residents say.

In school No. 66, located in the Khilok microdistrict, up to 75% of students are children of migrants. Some of them do not know Russian when they enter the first grade. It is impossible to organize a high-quality learning process for Russian-speaking first-graders in such a situation. Parents are forced to send their students to educational institutions in other areas.

Last year, an initiative group of citizens filed a complaint about lawlessness with the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia. Here are the results with which the prosecutor’s office of the Novosibirsk region returns with a report to the prosecutor general (response No. 7-668-2121 dated 06/21/2021): - “The director of the municipal unitary enterprise of Novosibirsk “Spetsavtokhozyaystvo” [landfill balance holder - ed.] ... submitted to due to the failure to take measures to establish a sanitary protection zone for the Levoberezhny MSW landfill. - "An administrative claim has been filed against the mayor's office with a demand to review the sanitary protection zone of the cemetery, taking into account the hazard class of the facility." “The regional prosecutor’s office initiated a pre-investigation check by the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the region regarding the falsification of expert opinions, which served as the basis for the issuance of sanitary and epidemiological conclusions to the landfill and cemetery by the Rospotrebnadzor Department for the region.”

Translated from the official language, this means: the police are checking the version of false expert opinions, on the basis of which Rospotrebnadzor approved the reduction of sanitary protection zones, now they simply do not reach the Khilok market.

The criminal case was initiated by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Novosibirsk Region in July of this year on the grounds of a crime under Part 1 of Art. 238 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Production, storage or transportation for the purpose of sale or sale of goods and products, performance of work or provision of services that do not meet the requirements of the safety of life or health of consumers).

"First of all, we do not agree with the very qualification of the case. Investigators are looking for superficial flaws and diligently avoid answering the main question: which of the officials should be held accountable for systemic violations. No one has yet been charged. Why are dumps and food markets side by side under our windows? Who issued permits for the wholesale trade in fruits and vegetables a few meters from the cemetery? It is not the merchants who should be held accountable, but the leaders and patrons of this lawlessness", - says Svetlana Fedchenko.

In addition, as part of the criminal case, Rospotrebnadzor conducted an improper environmental review. Surveys on the concentration of harmful substances should be carried out more than once. A sample of drinking water was not taken at all, - say residents familiar with the case materials.

The activists expressed their doubts about the superficial investigation at a recent reception with the chairman of the Investigative Committee.

"The meeting lasted for two hours. Alexander Bastrykin listened to Vitaly Zaripov, acting head of the investigative department for the region, and citizens, after which he gave instructions to strengthen the investigative team and involve Moscow specialists in environmental assessments. He also instructed to initiate another criminal case - in connection with complaints from residents about violations of law and order by migrants - market workers. Alexander Bastrykin emphasized that the situation in the Malyginsky and Khiloksky microdistricts is under his personal control and promised to personally receive the victims again in a month", - says Zhanna Oleinikova.

For more than a decade, the residents who reached Bastrykin felt like hostages of a criminogenic neighborhood. Novosibirsk residents can only hope that the intervention of the federals, represented by the Investigative Committee, will help them get out of the enchanted zone of lawlessness.

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