The alarm is sounding in Karelia: the republic is at risk of losing its trump card - beautiful ecologically clean nature. Lake Onega, according to eco-activists, is polluted with plastic, in the Segezha region, among white Karelian mosses and pines, about a dozen "garbage spots" were found, and about 200 plastic and 600 glass bottles were collected in the Petrozavodsk Belichiy Ostrov park during the cleanup.
Despite the fact that there are many garbage collection campaigns in the region - the Ministry of the Environment alone has organized more than 200 events, the situation is still deplorable. Eco-activists believe that, first of all, it is necessary to fight not with the consequences, but with the cause of the appearance of landfills.
“Someone will throw the trash into a container. And someone out the window. From the height of the fifth floor it seems as though it is not visible on the ground. People do what they think: I pay the janitor, I pay the management company. Let them deal with the garbage. Someone will come, someone will take it away”, - Karelinform quotes the words of Mikhail Gusakov, an eco-activist from Petrozavodsk.
The representative of the regional waste management operator Avtospetstrans also said that only 40% of more than 450 horticultural associations existing in Karelia have signed contracts for garbage disposal. Where the waste of the remaining SNT disappears is anyone's guess. Especially in cases where there is a forest nearby.
In addition, according to the representative of the regoperator, entrepreneurs are also unclean in this matter - many of them also do not want to pay for garbage collection. An unauthorized dump was recently found in the republic. As it turned out later, it was arranged by the owner of one of the shops.
"The presence of landfills in the forest, water body, on the streets is a low ecological culture of the population in handling waste", - agree with eco-activists in the Karelian Ministry of Natural Resources.
At the same time, the elimination of landfills is not cheap. Only 11 million rubles were spent on destruction of 11 landfills in two districts of Karelia. And the administrations of the settlements, which often own the plots where spontaneous dumps appear, are in no hurry to deal with them. A new judicial practice is already taking shape in the republic - about forcing local authorities to liquidate landfills. Recently, the environmental prosecutor's office filed a lawsuit against the Prionezhskaya administration to clean up three illegal landfills.
“District administrations will always have more important things to do than garbage collection. Garbage that has been accumulating for decades. And this, unfortunately, is not the kind of waste that will dissolve without a trace in nature. These are not boards that will rot, not rags, not organic matter. This is mainly plastic”, - writes Karelinform.
Only in Lake Onega there is twice as much microplastic as in the Baltic Sea. In general, microplastics are a new problem for freshwater Karelia. It can be of two types - industrial (for example, polymer microgranules from scrubs that get into wastewater) and "natural" (plastic cups, bottles and food packaging).
In July 2019, the head of Karelia Artur Parfenchikov made a proposal to abandon plastic altogether. “The easiest thing to do for this is to start going to the store with a reusable, for example, cloth bag, so as not to take plastic bags at the checkout. I do it myself”, - he said. He also introduced a bill, according to which additional state support will be received by companies engaged in the production of ecological containers and separate waste collection. However, the residents of Karelia have not yet heard that he was accepted.
According to the Karelinform correspondent Margarita Ivanova, in the last couple of years the citizens of Petrozavodsk have become more aware of the "plastic" issues. There are containers for PET plastic, and they are always full to the top. More and more of those who go to the store with their bag are refusing to use soft cellophane bags for packing one apple or a couple of bananas. In Petrozavodsk there is an eco-taxi and a collection car. Many people specially prepare and accumulate garbage in order to hand it over for recycling. But there are still no plastic bins in every yard, as well as bins for other types of waste.
Now an appeal is being prepared to the head of Karelia with a request to ban single-use non-medical plastic in the region. The world has long been gaining momentum for the Zero Waste, which assumes the minimization of waste - ideally to zero. It's based on a simple principle: if you want less garbage in the world, don't buy it.
In Karelia there is a Pulp and Paper Mill that produces kraft paper, as well as shops without packaging, where you can buy goods in your own container. However, according to Ivanova, there are too few of them. “In Petrozavodsk, as far as I know, there are only a few such stores. But the bulk of buyers is concentrated in this city. There is certainly a demand. But small. The location of the outlets is not the best. Therefore, you need to carve out time, collect cans, bottles, make a list and go. It is much easier to drop by on the way from work to the nearest supermarket. Yes, not environmentally friendly. But it is convenient”, - she told Novye Izvestia.
In addition, at the moment, separate waste collection is possible only in the capital of Karelia. According to Ivanova, it is planned to introduce it outside Petrozavodsk. “Last year, the regional authorities talked about a two-component waste collection scheme. And in the future - and more "crushed". But somehow later. Our MSW management scheme was approved only at the end of last year. Now it seems that the number one task is to make sure that trash cans are where they should be. And garbage was centrally removed from all settlements. And this will already be great progress ”, - the journalist says.
Ivanova believes: in order to avoid illegal dumps, one should not arrange them, and also resolve issues with places for collecting solid waste. “For example, there is an acute shortage of containers for garbage on the territory of natural parks and various tourist places. But there is one "but": a garbage truck can get there far from everywhere. Taking your bag of garbage out of the forest or from the lake shore is much easier. The authorities of Karelia allocate money, put endless notices, hold talks. But a little sense. Because the devastation, as they say, is not in the closets, but in the heads”, - she said.
A typical example is that at the beginning of September in Petrozavodsk, a landfill appeared in the place where garbage cans used to stand. That is, residents continued to take out garbage to their familiar territory, and the lack of tanks did not bother them at all. However, there are several trash cans nearby. “Why should someone then decide the issue of the landfill, which you yourself made, with the rats that run from this landfill to the children through the fence into the kindergarten, why do the volunteers then have to go and collect the garbage scattered around the neighborhood and clean up the territory? What kind of consumer society? Why does everyone think that someone owes them?", - a local resident was indignant on the social network.
“Of course, I would like the problem to be resolved quickly. So that, as they say, vzhuh - that's all. And the Karelian land is clean. But everyone understands that this will not happen. And that a global infusion of funds is required, a global rethinking of the attitude towards waste. And this is a change in the mentality of the local population: buy less, throw away less, reuse more. Such changes, as the experience of the same Finland shows, requires efforts of more than one generation, ”concluded Ivanova.