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Severe air pollution chokes Atyrau - Kuanov, head of ecology department

December 30 2013, 15:19

By Saule Tasboulatova

Yerbol Kuanov, Head of Ecology of Atyrau OblastYerbol Kuanov, Head of Ecology of Atyrau OblastAt the end of the year the head of ecology department of Atyrau Oblast Erbol Kuanov (on a photo) made a sensational public statement. The chief ecologist named all companies that “poison” the air in our city and choke people with a smell of rotten eggs. Kuanov outlined preliminary results of a complex research (called “Impact of Atyrau Refinery and other companies located within the city limits on environment and health of urban population”) in his letter addressed to the Governor of Atyrau Oblast Baktykozha Izmukhambetov.

WIND PATTERN AGAINST US

If you have a little bit of imagination and look at the map of Atyrau, you can end up with asthma attack. The city is densely encircled with industrial enterprises: Atyrau Refinery, Atyrau Thermal Power Plant, “PPS Oil Trade” rolling stock washing and steaming station, “Kaspiypromstroynedvizhimost LLP” (KPSN) petroleum tank farm, New tank farm, “Ak Zhaik-7” LLP (rolling stock repair and steaming), tank farm in Shirina village, Asphalt-concrete plant, SDW landfill, KazTransOil Pumping Station, CPC, Bolashak Onshore Processing Plant, (the latter is, of course, located in Karabatan, which is not so close, but Kuanov states that it takes only 15 minutes for hydrogen sulfide to reach the city). On top of this we have “Tukhlaya Balka” ("Rotten lagoon"- industrial and household waste collection lagoon) on the left bank and similar facility, so called “Quadrat”, on the right bank. 

In 2010 we already wrote that complex research has been commenced with regards to impact of Atyrau Refinery and other production facilities located within the city limits on environment and people’s health according to the decision of the regional commission on environmental protection. This research hasn’t been finished yet, but data is already available for 2007 - 2011 about alarming pollution levels of hydrogen sulfide (140 times higher than the norm), sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in ground air. 

FOUL-SMELLING STEAMING FACILITY WILL BE CLOSED

Atyrau RefineryAtyrau RefineryThe Republican Research Center for Protection of Atmospheric Air LLP jointly with the Test and Analytical Control Laboratory of Ecology Department took about 12 000 measurements. The results are depressing.

"Ak Zhaik-7" LLP is engaged in repair and steaming of crude transporting rolling stock. The measurements taken showed abnormally high concentration of hydrogen sulfide – 70 times exceeding MPC (max. permissible concentration in the air). And their violations are multiple. This steaming facility is negatively impacting the air and surrounding residential houses and school No. 9 named after Valikhanov are choking from its activity. Kuanov said that most likely the activity of the steaming facility will be suspended.  

GAS ATTACK FROM RAIL CAR LOADING RACKS

During the night concentrations of hydrogen sulfide exceeding MPC limits by 1,6 times were measured at KazTransOil pumping station named after Kasymov. In this case, according to Kuanov, the air quality is spoiled by rail car loading racks. Only one tank is equipped with special gas trapping system, the second one is old, of Soviet-make. So, when this old tank is filled with crude, the entire city chokes from the bad smell.    

If we move all rail car loading racks out of the city, then automatically rail car washing and steaming facilities will move away with them, - says Kuanov. In this respect we recently presented the general plan to the Governor and made our proposals.

We understand that we can't simply move them in one day, bur we can start doing it now. We are not asking them to close their business. We are asking to move their business outside the city limits, so that health of the population is not impacted.

Atyrau Thermal Power PlantAtyrau Thermal Power PlantWe are not saying that KazTransOil pumping station should move out, but they need to install modern equipment that traps emission gases and those technologies are not rocket science, they are available on the market.

Atyrau Refinery, as well as Om Trade Oil LLP - refinery located at former Chemical plant, PPS Oil Trade,  Batys, Atyrau Thermal Power Plant, etc. - they all contribute to chokling of the city from poisonous emissions. 

CANCEROUS GROWTH

The research results obtained during the past 20 years show that the number of population of Atyrau suffering from diseases of bone and muscular system  have increased 9 times. The diseases of blood and  haematogenic bodies have incrfaesed 6 times. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities - 3.8 times.

Respiratory organs’ diseases among adult population of our city is increasing: in 2008 - 7 870 cases were recorded, in 2011 – 11 846 cases).

According to experts of World Health Organization, 23% of all diseases and 25% of cancer are caused by environmental factors.

Bolashak Onshore Processing PlantBolashak Onshore Processing PlantIn our region in 2010  for every 100 thousand people there were 160 cases of cancer, in 2012 this figure has increased to 165 cases and Atyrau city is leading in the region for cancer cases.

Based on the findings, the Department of Ecolody of Atyrau Oblast sent a letter to the Governor of Atyrau Oblast on November 26 where it stated a range of proposals that should change the ecological situation in the city.

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