Residents of the town of Pechora and the village of Kozhva in the Komi Republic have begun collecting signatures under a petition demanding that thermal waste destruction in the region be prohibited by law. Earlier, the republican authorities included 25 thermal destruction installations, which are planned to be placed in hard-to-reach areas for the disposal and neutralization of solid municipal waste, in the territorial scheme. The first thermal destructor is going to be installed in Kozhva - a village in the suburbs of Pechora.
The authors of the petition suppose that plans for the construction of refuse incineration installations are actually being implemented under the guise of thermal destruction. In their opinion, there is a risk of toxic combustion products getting into the atmosphere and of air pollution with dioxins, furans, and other substances that cause adverse health consequences. The authors of the petition also draw attention to the fact that the use of such installations technologically provides for waste pre-sorting, since it is necessary to isolate components that are not thermally destructible from its composition. But the project of the regional operator does not provide for the construction of a waste sorting plant.
"Thus, the statements of the authorities about solving the problem with SMW in the village of Kozhva after the installation’s construction are groundless, since the disposition of waste, which will remain after thermal destruction, will be necessary anyway," the petition says.
The authors of the appeal believe that instead of such controversial projects, the authorities should introduce separate waste collection and recycling.
As of December 27, almost 600 people have signed the petition on change.org.
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As Nina Ananina, the head of the Ecologists of Komi Civic Organization told 7x7, signatures are meanwhile being collected in several districts under a similar appeal to the head of the republic, the State Council of Komi and the Republican Ministry of Natural Resources since the beginning of December.
“Signatures are collected in Syktyvkar, Pechora, the Ust-Kulom, Troitsko-Pechorsk, Usinsk, Ust-Tsilma Districts, in Mutny Materik. We have not yet counted how many of them have been collected, but there is going to be a lot of them. People are outraged. An extremely dangerous and inefficient method of waste management was chosen. Some kind of total pyromania. No one [from the officials] is considering recycling organic waste materials, which are 40% of the contents of our trash cans. No one is trying to sensibly introduce separate waste collection. This is a minion’s approach.”
Ananina says the signatures will be collected at least until mid-January, then activists expect the republican authorities to listen to the "popular cry" and to exclude the installation of thermal destructors from the territorial waste management scheme.
"If there is no response, we have claims to raise. We are going to hold pickets and rallies, when the pandemic recedes. If they stay categorically determined to install these thermal destructors, we will initiate a referendum on environmental issues. A wave will come, and they [officials] slightly underestimate the height of this wave. Are we really not going to defend our region from those so-called incinerators, if we have saved Shies from waste import from Moscow?" the ecologist concluded.