Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 30th 2013 Contents Tuesday marking exactly 100 days before
the opening ceremony.
The press office of Russian Railways con-
struction unit, which is responsible for the
road and manages the limestone quarry-
turned-waste dump in Akhshtyr, told AP
that it paid the $3,000 fine in August. The
company blamed the dumping on a sub-
contractor, insisting that the waste man-
agement firm had "rectified the violations"---
even after being told that AP had seen trucks
dumping concrete and that the pit was still
filled with construction waste.
Outside the crater the size of three football
fields, villagers complain that trucks continue
to bring in construction waste by night and
soil by day---as they have been doing for at
least three months. Russian Railways isn t
only dumping in the pit: Just outside the
quarry s fence, a plot of land it leases is
strewn with broken helmets, plastic tubes,
foam sheets and tyres. Residents say they
have been complaining to authorities about
the dumping for months.
"Authorities are telling us that this quarry
is illegal and that it has been closed, but
you can see that it s still here," said village
chief Alexander Koropov. "We don t know
what to do. We would like to petition God,
but we haven t got his address. He s the
only person we haven t petitioned yet."
Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister
in charge of the preparations for the games,
has persistently dismissed claims that Sochi
is failing on its green commitments. Speaking
to reporters this year, he admitted "certain
violations," but denied claims that trash still
gets dumped in illegal landfills. The only
thing being dumped in Sochi, he said, is
soil, a by-product of tunnel works. Kozak
said the soil "only improves the landscape
of the Sochi National Park and does not
harm it in any way."
Despite the "Zero Waste" pledge, there
are no provisions or programmes in the
budget for treating construction waste. A
decree signed last May by then-Prime Min-
ister Putin repealed a set of waste-related
measures such as the construction of recy-
cling facilities from the national Olympic
preparations plan, leaving responsibility to
the city administration. In January, Sochi
officials issued an official strategy on waste
treatment that cast aside plans for recycling
waste and ruled that burning unsorted trash
is the "most forward-looking" solution. (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 30, 2013
1) Wanted contract delivery drivers
with own vehicle 3 tons and 7 tons.
2) Experienced Heavy T and Extra
Heavy T drivers.
Police Certificate of good character required.
Call 645-5040 or 657-0001 1024140
AKHSHTYR---Trucks rumble to the edge of a gigan-
tic pit filled with spray cans, tyres and foam sheets
and dump a stream of concrete slabs that send up
a cloud of limestone dust. Other trucks pile clay
on top and a bulldozer mixes everything together
in a rudimentary effort to hide the mess. This landfill
outside Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympics
in 100 days, is smack in the middle of a water pro-
tection zone where dumping industrial waste is
As a centrepiece of its Olympic bid, Russia trum-
peted a "Zero Waste" programme that promised the
cleanest games ever, saying it would refrain from
dumping construction waste and rely on reusable
materials. But on a visit last week to Akhshtyr, just
north of Sochi, The Associated Press found that Rus-
sia s state-owned rail monopoly is dumping tons of
construction waste into what authorities call an illegal
landfill, raising concerns of possible contamination
in the water that directly supplies Sochi.
The finding shows how little Russia has done to
fulfill its ambitious green pledges. Its $51 billion
budget for the Olympics contains no provisions for
treating construction waste.
In a letter obtained by the AP, the Environmental
Protection Agency in the area where Sochi is located
told the Black Sea resort s environment council in
late August that it had inspected the Akhshtyr landfill
and found "unauthorised dumping of construction
waste as well as soil from excavation works." The
agency said it fined Russian Railways, whose Sochi
project costs billions of dollars, $3,000 for the dump-
ing. It didn t order the dump closed.
The EPA s Sochi representative visited the site
earlier this month and insisted it was being cleaned
up, villagers and activists who were present at that
meeting said. The agency was unavailable for com-
ment this week.
The main health concern surrounding the landfill
is to the water supply.
Authorities confirm that Russian Railways operates
the Akhshtyr dump without a license---but it wouldn t
be able to obtain one even if it tried. That s because
the village lies in an area where dumping construction
waste and soil is forbidden under the Russian Water
Code. Moisture from the landfill seeps through porous
karst rocks into underground springs that feed the
nearby Mzymta River, which provides up to half the
water supply in Sochi.
"Water from here will be contaminating Sochi s
fresh water springs for the next ten to 15 years," said
Vladimir Kimaev, a member of the Environmental
Watch on North Caucasus.
Boris Golubov, a geologist with the Russian Acad-
emy of Sciences, said it is impossible to accurately
judge the impact of the Akhshtyr dump without a
chemical breakdown of the waste and a full geological
survey of the rocks. He said, however, that the landfill s
location on karst is potentially hazardous.
"Whenever you start dumping something or dig,
you ve got to think twice," Golubov said.
Russian Railways is building the most expensive
piece of Sochi infrastructure, a 30-mile highway and
railroad link between the airport and the Alpine
venues that has already cost the government 270 bil-
lion rubles ($8.5 billion). President Vladimir Putin
was in Sochi this week to inaugurate a train station
that serves as a hub for the link ahead of celebrations
A resident of Akhshtyr village, stands by the side of the road as a truck carrying
construction waste rolls down the road in Sochi, Russia, October 24. AP PHOTO
Russia breaks 'Zero Waste' Olympic pledge
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