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Environment in Russia. Environment in Central Asia. USSR was worse than West. 2.5 X air pollution of U.S. (per GNP) 20% water unsafe 1/3 of arable land affected by acid rain Etc., etc. Why USSR was worse. Heavy industry Expand agriculture “Inexhaustible” resources

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Ussr was worse than west l.jpg
USSR was worse than West

  • 2.5 X air pollution of U.S. (per GNP)

  • 20% water unsafe

  • 1/3 of arable land affected by acid rain

  • Etc., etc.


Why ussr was worse l.jpg
Why USSR was worse

  • Heavy industry

  • Expand agriculture

  • “Inexhaustible” resources

  • Legitimacy, self-sufficiency

    through technology

  • Sacrifice for defense


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Why USSR was worse

  • Leadership technicians;

    questioning prevented

  • Little free opposition

  • Secrecy; lack of enforcement

  • Central planning insensitive

  • Only capitalism harms nature



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Aral Sea

  • Once the 4th largest inland body of water in the world. A series of dams was built to irrigate cotton.

  • Aral Sea reduced to about 25% of its 1960 volume, 4x salinity wiped out the fishery.

  • Pollutants became airborne as dust, causing significant local health problems.


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Interbasin water transfers

(river diversions)

Aral Sea

Kara

Kum

Canal

Amu Darya

Size of

Aral Sea

Environmental damage estimated

at $1.25 -$2.5 billion a year.


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Caspian Sea

Western,

Russian

oil and gas

Companies

in Caspian

Basin


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Caspian Sea

Caspian

Seal in

Kazakstan

Caspian sturgeon

and its caviar

Oil spill off

Baku, Azerbaijan


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Dnieper R.

Don R.

BLACK SEA

Ukraine

Sea ofAzov

Russia

Dniester R.

Moldova

Crimea

Georgia

Danube R.

Romania

Bulg.

Bosporus

Turkey


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Sea of Azov

Eutrophication (Algae growth)

Metals plant on

Dnieper River


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Lake

Baikal

Environmental

objections to

paper mills

as early

as 1960s


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Cyanide disasterAustralian-owned goldmine in Romania, 2000

80% of fish in Tisza River /

wetlands died, spill to Danube


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Gabcikovo Dams,Slovakia

Conflict, protests between

Slovakia and Hungary

over diversion of

Danube River


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AIR & LAND

Kola Peninsula, NW Russia


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BlackTriangle

GDR

POLAND

Devastation from

acid rain, SO2, toxics

CZECHOSLOVAKIA


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Donbass & Kuzbass

Donbass coal

fields, E. Ukraine

Kuzbass coal

fields, W. Siberia


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Kalmykia

European

Buddhist

Mongols

Desertification

Chemicals/

Salinization

Oil development


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Sakha(Yakutia)

  • Siberian indigenous

  • Coal, metals

    mining

  • Logging


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Clear-cutting in Siberia

Japanese and South Korean

companies take

advantage of “fire sale”

International campaign to

protect Amur Tiger

along Chinese border




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WAR

Kola Peninsula

Acid rain,

Mining,

Nuclear subs

scuttled


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Toxic military bases

Abandoned Soviet

military bases in Eastern

Europe have toxic

wastes (like U.S.

bases elsewhere.)


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Sverdlovsk anthrax, 1979

Bioweapons disaster,

79 cases (66 dead)

in Yeltsin’s district


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Bombing civilian

chemical plants

Toxic cloud after NATO bombing of

Pancevo plant in Yugoslavia, 1999


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Uranium mining

Roma (Gypsy) kids

playing on radioactive

mill tailings from

Soviet uranium mine

in Pécs, Hungary


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Soviet nuclear testsin Kazakstan

Genetic defects

near Semey

(Semipalatinsk)

Kazaks protest


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Kyshtym waste disaster, 1957

  • Explosion at Soviet weapons factory forces evacuation of over 10,000 people in Ural Mts.

  • Area size of Rhode Island still uninhabited; thousands of cancers reported

Orphans


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Novaya

Zemlya


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NUCLEARPOWER

Chernobyl

disaster,

April 1986



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“It Can’t Happen Here”

  • U.S. reaction to Chernobyl, 1986

    • Blamed on Communism, graphite reactor

  • Also Soviet reaction to Three-Mile Island, 1979

    • Blamed on Capitalism, pressurized-water reactor

  • No technology 100% safe

    • Three-Mile Island bubble almost burst


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8,000 deaths in 14 years

3.5 million sick,

one/third of them children









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Chernobyl’s political fallout

  • Secrecy stimulated glasnost, environmental opposition

  • Stimulated nationalism in Ukraine, Belarus,

    other republics that lost clean-up workers.

  • Questioning of the heart of technocratic power

  • USSR collapsed within 5 years.


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Positives since end of USSR

  • Democratization: NGOs, data

  • Decentralization: local sensitivity

  • Deindustrialization of old areas

  • Expanded national parks

  • Protection laws stronger by 1993


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Negatives since end of USSR

  • Financial difficulties; jobs stressed

  • Reduced monitoring, enforcement

  • Increased affluence, cars, waste

  • Profit motive; foreign firms

  • Putin dismantled agency, 2002


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Other positives in Eastern Europe

  • Ecological dissidents in transition

  • Increased spending

  • Pollution control technology

  • Loss of markets

  • Entry into E.U. standards


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