Top-tens of the biggest polluters of Kazakhstan based on the official data were published. The charts reveal that the environment has been greatly contaminated by steelworks Kazakhmys and ArcelorMittal, oil companies KazMunaiGas and KazTransOil and power plant in Ekibastuz. Interactive map of facilities that exceed the safe threshold limits valid in the EU is now available in clearly understandable form on-line at www.ecocitizens.kz. Presentation of the data from official sources was prepared by non-governmental organizations. Unfortunately, significant number of companies has not reported their data on voluntary base. Improvement of access to information is expected based on the new act, recently signed by the president.
“New act obliging the companies to publish figures on their pollutant emissions was only recently signed by the president. Our database draws from the data voluntarily reported to the Ministry of Energy by the corporations themselves. Thus, many dirty industries are still absent on the map. Involving them into environmental informational provision is now the major task,” says Dmitriy Kalmykov, director of EcoMuseum Karaganda.
“Citizens can now browse the data for the year 2013 online under www.ecocitizens.kz. More recent data will be available as soon as we analyse official data from the Ministry. For a better overview, we have decided to publish only the data of operators that exceed the EU safe threshold limits. Those can have significant impact on human health,” says Kalmykov.
The Arnika NGO from the Czech Republic participated in creating the online database as well as in compiling the lists of the biggest polluters of Kazakhstan. In the Czech Republic, such data is regularly published by the Czech Ministry of the Environment since 2005.
“We have sorted the data presented by the companies into groups of chemicals according to their negative effects. In our database, you can find the summarized overview of carcinogenic substances, chemicals affecting reproduction, and many others. An interactive map helps to find the data relevant to the city or region. I hope that our approach can inspire Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan in when developing official information system,” explains Martin Skalsky from the Czech organisation Arnika.
Values exceeding safe threshold limits valid in the EU for the current period are related to only 107 facilities in Kazakhstan and cover only 21 substances emitted to the air. According to the qualified estimate of the experts, there are several hundreds of facilities that should report their data – which means that so far, a substantial part of the industrial companies does not submit data on their impact on environment and human health.
For comparison: In the Czech Republic, 1,657 facilities reported emissions in 2013; official databases includes releases of 35 pollutants to air, 32 to water, 14 to soil and transfers of 32 substances to wastewater and 25 substances to waste. This does not mean that the situation in Kazakhstan would be that much better than in the Czech Republic, but it rather indicates that the Kazakhstani data are incomplete. Number of factories did not report their emissions release on voluntary basis at all. The official pollution register will be published probably only next year, as the president signed the new act in April 2016. In the Czech Republic, all factories are obliged to report the emissions when exceeding the threshold limit. Transfers in waste are reported as well. In addition to reports mandatory in the whole EU, the Czech factories also report styrene and formaldehyde emissions.