Environmental Issues and Risks. Suggestions Addressed to the New Government.
On May 22 in Media Center The environmental activists raised the existing problems, their solutions and suggestions addressed to the new government.

“Ekolur” informational NGO president Inga Zarafyan said that their primary demand is to raise the government’s accountability to the civil society.

“We suggest giving up collective accountability. Government members should confirm their decisions by their signatures. Second, transparency should be a must, third, we suggest that all governmental plans be discussed with the civil society”, says Zarafyan.

She adds that the environmental activists prioritize Amulsar and Teghut mines.

“Lake Sevan problems are also urgent. Every year we face the issue of additional water intake from Lake Sevan. We demand that this issue be removed from the agenda totally given that the lake situation is already deteriorated. The other suggestion has to do with the Ararat Valley. Its underground waters have been used for fishponds and the situation is detrimental. The monitoring of small Hydroelectric plants must be conducted in another way, we have long crossed the border of using water resources for small Hydro plants”, says Zarafyan.

Levon Galstyan, a geologist and Armenia’s Environmental Front Representative says that through all ideologies for many years in Armenia the ecological component has been at the last place.

He is hopeful that the velvet revolution will be followed by a cognitive revolution in the government.

“”Unfortunately I don’t spot that right now, because the economic interest note is again  prioritized, and the ecological interest is undermined. Eco security is equal to military security. Our mining industry yields 3% of GDP and 10.000 temporary work places. The profit of the mines is also temporary given 5-10 years of mine life. We have only a few mines that have existed for more than 50 years”, says Galstyan.

The environmental activists stress a few points in their proposal package concerning mining industry:

  • To annul the positive experimental conclusion of Armenia’s Ministry of Environment granted in 2016 to the exploitation of Amulsar gold mine, given the newly emerged circumstances in Amulsar program (the explorations and conclusions provided by Australian «Blue Minerals Consultancy», American «Buka Environmental» and Canadian  «Clear Coast Consulting, Inc.» companies) and to halt the Amulsar program.
  • To admit the government’s and “Teghut” CJSC’s responsibility for the destruction of the environment, polluting the trans-border waters (the Debed River) and aggravating the life quality  in the region of Lori Marz Shnogh community, to estimate the volumes of damage, to ensure adequate financial recovery to RA state budget, to bind the company to present a new plan of preventing deforestation and soil destruction, water pollution and compensation for the caused damages to the local people.
  • To halt the extensive mine industry development at the expense of new mine display thus ensuring Armenia’s stable development route.
  • To halt mine exploitation and exploration in specially preserved regions.
  • To halt exploitation of Qajaran copper molybdenum mine and Agarak copper molybdenum mine, Shamloogh copper mine, Akhtala metal mine, Sotq gold mine, Shahumyan gold mine at the expense of industry volume increase for as long as the environmental damages prevail and new mechanisms of pollution prevention mechanisms are presented.

Artur Grigoryan, Representative of “Ecological Right” NGO presents the indices of mine industry in Armenia.

“2,5% GDP is the index of mine industry for the last 5 years and 0,8% employment, compared to the 15% of agriculture. They also say that mining industry provides 1/3 of exported goods equal to $600 mln”, says Grigoryan.

He finds tourism and agriculture more vulnerable fields together with the mining industry.

“The managing system should totally be reviewed ”, says Grigoryan.

Karine danielyan, Chair person of “For Sustainable Human Development” NGO finds that the National Security Council should include a representative from the Ministry of Environment.

“We have suggested excluding the development of mining industry as RA priority dimension. Yesterday we met with the newly appointed Environmental minster and put forward our proposals. The minster was informed of our letter and their suggestions to be presented to the government partly overlap with ours. The minister stressed that he took advantage of our suggestions, he acknowledges them and his concerns are in line with the phenomena that we are striking today ”, said Danielyan.

You can follow the full discussion in the video.

Lilit Arakelyan, Media Center program editor/coordinator,

You can contact the author via Lilitarakelyan@pjc.am  


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