Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova Choking On Toxic Waste, OSCE Says

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Toxic waste, water pollution and the legacy of Chernobyl have plunged Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova and Belarus into an environmental crisis, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In a report released in Prague this week, the OSCE said contaminated military sites were also a festering problem. “Ukraine has approximately 2.5 millions tonnes of Soviet-era ammunition that requires disposal, including four burial grounds for radioactive waste”, said the report.

The break-up of the Soviet Union had solved some environmental problems, but exacerbated others because of lax regulation and increased exploitation of natural resources, it said.

The application of stricter EU environmental standards in Slovakia and Hungary, Ukraine’s neighbours, has resulted in attempts to export environmental problems across their eastern borders.

The report aimed to help “identify the most dangerous points and to enhance awareness,” Bernard Soy, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, told AFP.

Up to 10 percent of Ukrainian waste disposal sites belonging to the military require major repairs, the report said, pointing to a series of accidental explosions between 2004 and 2006 at the Novobohdanivka arsenal in the south of the country.

Source: AFP