From Baikal to Kamchatka

From Baikal to Kamchatka

The nature of the Far East is undoubtedly one of the main treasures of the region. The vast expanse from Lake Baikal to the Pacific coast is perhaps the most exotic in Russia. Full-flowing rivers, active volcanoes, forests with tigers and taiga grapes - the Far Eastern Federal District is called one of the most promising places for the development of tourism for a reason. At the same time, environmental problems in the region only multiply every year. Both nature and people suffer from the consequences of man-made accidents, illegal fishing and hazardous industries. Many problems have not been solved for years. FederalPress talks about the most serious environmental crises in the Far East.

Black sky of Ulan-Ude

One of the most persistent associations with environmental concerns is air pollution. The greenhouse effect, Greta Thunberg, suffocating people - that's all. Many believe that only large cities are subject to this scourge: there are many cars and various harmful industries. In fact, this is far from the case. There are no really big cities in the Far East, but there are problems with air, and sometimes very serious ones. Perhaps the most alarming situation has developed in the capital of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude. The city is annually included in the lists of the most polluted cities in Russia. This winter, they even announced the "black sky" regime: due to the too strong concentration of harmful substances, the city plunges into smog. At such a time, it is better not to be on the street, and to close the windows in the rooms tightly, otherwise you can seriously undermine your health. Even the governor of Buryatia, Aleksey Tsydenov, complained about the difficult ecological situation.

Ulan-Ude can hardly be called a large industrial center. The reasons for such a deplorable state of affairs lie elsewhere. In fact, in the capital of the republic, the story of the London “great smog” is being repeated. The largest power plants in the city - CHP-1, CHP-2, TGK-14 - run on coal and produce a huge amount of smoke. In addition, in recent years, the private residential sector in which there is no centralized heating has been rapidly expanding in Ulan-Ude. Locals warm themselves with stoves. According to the city administration, there are about 45 thousand such houses in the city. Together, they emit a third of all harmful substances in Ulan-Ude.

Ulan-Ude is located in a lowland, and calm weather is not uncommon here. In winter, this becomes a real problem: emissions from power plants and stoves do not go anywhere, but accumulate in the city. This winter, the situation has reached a critical point: an outrageous amount of formaldehyde, phenol and nitrogen dioxide has accumulated in the air. The media then reported on numerous health complaints from local residents.

Problems with air quality in the region have been discussed for several years. However, they have not been able to solve them so far - primarily due to lack of money. As the government of Buryatia told "FederalPress", they plan to solve the environmental problem with the help of reconstruction of CHPP-2. However, work in this direction stalled a few years ago.

“The project cost is estimated at about 33 billion rubles. After the modernization of the power plant in the city, more than fifty old coal-fired boiler houses will be closed. They will simply not be needed. The problem is that Ulan-Ude has not yet managed to get into a number of specialized state programs - for example, "Clean Air". But work in this direction is being actively pursued, ”the government's press service explained.

Officials note that over the past few years, Buryatia has managed to seriously reduce the number of harmful emissions into the atmosphere - by almost 45 thousand tons. However, these figures say little to the residents of the capital: they still have the same sad picture before their eyes.

The same problems are observed in two more regions of the Far Eastern Federal District - the Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region. The scale of the disasters there is smaller, but still quite serious. The reasons for gas pollution are the same - outdated coal-fired power plants. However, the situation in the Jewish Autonomous Region is quite interesting. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the region is in one of the last places in the district in terms of air quality, the situation is worse only in Buryatia. But at the same time, the official data show significant improvements in a number of indicators. So, according to official data, in 2019, the volume of automobile emissions in the region amounted to 4.4 thousand tons. This is, for a moment, one of the best indicators in the country. There is, however, one thing: in 2018, this figure was 16 thousand tons. The fourfold decrease can be easily explained: local experts have changed the calculation methodology. How much more accurate it has become is difficult to say.

Harbor attack

Another cause of air pollution in the Far East is coal transshipment. This problem is most acute in the Primorsky Territory. Residents of Vladivostok, Nakhodka and the Posiet village have been struggling with coal dust for several years in a row. In the cold season, when the wind begins to blow towards the coast, the fine black sand clouds cover the areas near the ports. It is impossible to hide from it: it clogs into windows, cars, entrances ... On especially windy days, there is simply nothing to breathe on the street.

The reason for the disaster is simple: open transshipment of coal. Previously, mainly timber and other bulk cargoes were transported in Primorye. However, in the 2000s, the market situation changed and stevedores switched to coal transportation. Needless to say, there was no infrastructure to protect against the harmful effects of solid fuels? Of course, bona fide stevedores take special measures to minimize dust emissions. Someone puts protective screens, someone switches to a closed or semi-closed type of transshipment. However, many companies operate in the old fashioned way. They are periodically fined: last year, for example, the port of Vera was fined half a million rubles. But the profits allow the port workers to continue working in peace.

From Baikal to Kamchatka

The Far East is a boundless coastline, charming Amur taiga and geyser valleys. Various birds, rare species of wild cats, artiodactyls, as well as several subspecies of bears live on huge areas. This land captivates at first sight and delights with an interesting tandem of northern and southern inhabitants.

Wild cats are the pride of the Far East

The most famous and largest predatory cat in the region is the Amur tiger, which is considered the symbol of Primorsky Krai. In the middle of the 20th century, this species was on the verge of extinction, but its number was raised, now about 330 individuals live in the Primorsky region, 110 in the Khabarovsk region, and the rest are distributed across the Jewish and Amur regions.

Fact! The Amur tiger is the largest representative of the feline family, has incredible strength and is capable of speeds up to 80 km/h.

However, the strength and beauty of this cat has its drawbacks: such a huge body, capable of reaching a weight of 300 kg, feeds a very small heart. Because of this, after each short dash, the tiger must rest. And this greatly complicates the hunt for artiodactyls. For a normal existence, a tiger needs up to 10 kg of meat per day.

Far Eastern leopard

One of the rarest subspecies of the cat family. Far Eastern leopards are very friendly and do not attack people without threatening their lives. It is the only leopard species that can survive in cold climates. He hunts deer, wild boars, badgers and even hares. The eyes of the Far Eastern predator are not yellow, but blue. It reaches 90 cm in length and height. 10-12 years ago there were only 30-40 Far Eastern leopards in the world, but WWF managed to double this number.

Amur Forest Cat

A small cat that looks very much like a domestic cat. It has a striped gray-brown color with red fur on the abdomen. The Amur cat prefers twilight and is rarely shown to people. It feeds on birds, mice and eggs, sometimes catches frogs, snakes and fish. The animal has a fierce character and caution.

Weasel family

One of the most famous representatives of the weasel is the harza. Differs in large size, lives in tree hollows. The color is white and black with pronounced borders on the tail, legs and muzzle. The body is elongated, with short legs. The weight of an adult reaches 4 kg. However, this strong creature is able to defeat even medium-sized musk deer. In addition to meat, he often eats berries, honey and nuts.

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