By Laura Suleimenova
Flares at Tengiz. Photo from "AkZhaik" archive.At the recent public hearings on environmental impact of the 3d Generation Plant (3GP), TCO representatives assured the local community that implementation of this large-scale project won't cause irreversible changes in ecosystems, and the risk for health of the population of the Zhyloi Distrcit will be “within acceptable limts”.
In addition, Tengizchevroil refers to the results of the research of its long-term contractor - Kazecoproekt LLP. But we would rather get information from absolutely independent sources. However, the last independent research was conducted a long time ago, at the beginning of 2000 by the Kazakh division of MANEB (International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Sciences), the then Department of GosSanEpidNadzor (State Sanitary- Epidemic Supervision)of Atyrau Oblast and Scientific Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology named after Khamza Zhumatov. The results of that reserach were published in one of “MANEB Bulletin” issues. Today it will be useful once more to turn to that source.
The purpose was the comparative analysis of the general disease incidence of the population of the studied (Zhyloi) and the reference (Makhambet) districts of Atyrau Oblast during the period of 1993-2003. Along with it a detailed medical examination was conducted in three settlements of the Zhyloi District (altogether 4 thousand people have been examined). It showed an extremely high disease incidence in the crosssection of all studied groups of the population. In particular, a high level of maternal mortality - 72,9 (1997) and 126,0 (2003) per 100 thousand people. The researchers also paid attention to the increase of congenital defects - this indicator was 4,3 times higher than in the reference Makhambet District. This, according to researchers, testifies the existence of serious disturbances in reproductive functions of women. On the whole, the indicators of the general disease incidence in the Zhyloi Distrcit for the 11-year monitoring period of all studied groups of the population are 1,5-2 times higher than in the reference district. And this can serve as confirmation of negative impact of ecological factors on the health of the local people.
During the same period the Department of GosSanEpidNadzor an Scientific Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology prepared “Mathematical modeling of the dependence of disease incidence of the population on environmental pollution in the PreCaspian oil and gas regions”. There, in particular, it was stated that “the polluting substances have essential impact on the general disease incidence of the population: in Kulsary – the concentrations of SO2 (sulfur oxide) and NO2 (nitrogen oxide) in the air; in TCO village – the concentrations of H2S (hydrogen sulfide) and SO2 in the air; in general, in the Zhyloi District - the concentrations of SO2 and NO2 in the air, in the villages of the Zhyloi Distrct - the concentrations of chlorine and sulfates in portable water. The experts stated that this was the direct impact of the plant operations.
It is unlikely that these 10-year old tendencies could be reversed back today, when oil production is only increasing.
- In 10-20 years the primary disease incidence in the Zhyloi Distrct can reach 90-100%, and the average life expectancy to decrease down to 40-50 years, - asserts the academician Diarov. - We already saw this: in Sarykamys village, where prior to resettlement there lived 3200 people, in 1993-2003 the disease incidence made 90%, and the average life expectancy was 46 years.