A long period of time has passed from the moment of the EU's additional sanctions implementation against Belarus.
Pecunia non olet?
A long period of time has passed from the moment of the EU's additional sanctions implementation against Belarus. The list of persons covered by sanctions is considerably expanded. Along with public prosecutors, judges, the high-ranking officials, who are responsible for infringement of human rights and repressions against opposition and civil society, it included businessmen-beneficiaries of Lukashenko's clan.
Despite sanctions and stepped up pressure of the international community upon official Minsk, the European businessmen being guided by commercial benefit, continue to run business with the Belarus companies-outlaws entered in “black list” of the EU. Moreover, among those co-operating with representatives of Lukashenko's regime there are well-known European companies, which don't know probably or don't wish to know that they are taking part in the project being able to become a wide scale ecological disaster for Europe.
The matter concerns development of a large chalk field “Hotislavsky”. The company “Quartzmelprom” belonging to the well-known Triple-group owned by the odious Belarus businessman Yury Chyzh (he and the Triple-group are in the EU's list) is engaged in its development. The plan of field development provides production of quartz sand and chalk with simultaneous building of large integrated industrial plant on processing of raw materials and manufacture of construction materials.
The European companies cooperating actively with the company “Quartzmelprom” covered by the EU sanctions supply factories with the modern equipment and technologies for creation of processing lines. In particular, the equipment of HAVER & BOECKER is used for washing and grading of sand. The company TEKA Maschinenbau GmbH is the supplier of mixing machines and mixer-agitators for manufacture of building materials. The building of factory, which will be equipped with manufacturing equipment of MASA-DORSTENER and MASA-HENKE is in a stage of termination. Despite bans the European companies promote Lukashenko's regime actively.
Meanwhile the further development of “Hotislavsky” field has a variety of serious ecological threats. The basic risks are connected with transboundary biospheric reserve “West Polesie” that unites national parks of Belarus, Ukraine and Poland and locates nearby to the field. In 2012 it was recognized by UNESCO and became one of links of the worldnet biospheric reserves.
Ecologists and scientists consider the further field development will have irreversible negative influence on ecosystems of the biospheric reserve. Development of the chalk field with planned depth of 45 meters will lead to infringement of variety of hydrophoric horizons and will cause the movement of underground waters towards the chalk field.
As groundwater pressure has a stabilising value for the lake complexes locating nearby, a considerable water depression will result in shallowing of unique lakes. The depression of water cycle in 3-5 times has already been observed.
The further change of hydrological regime on the considerable territory will lead to decrease in number and change of variety of flora and fauna species, disappearance of rare species of birds, for which the territory of biospheric reserve is a constant or timely habitat. Vegetation transformation will lead to soil erosion and destruction of woods. The fire hazard class on bogs and nearby territories will be raised.
The situation is complicated with the fact the reserve's territories are characterized with a shallow groundwater occurrence. It causes their low stability to all kinds of pollution. Development of hydrophoric horizons will cause movement of underground waters on territories exposed by radioactive contamination after Chernobyl accident. As is known, the field development is conducted on the territory of the Brest region where about 11% of the lands are covered by a zone of radioactive contamination. The forested areas under 40 square kilometers have the highest level of pollution. Moreover, in the area where the chalk extraction is conducted a burial site is located. It's known that it has been created on the open ground without the protective base. Expansion of radius of action of cone of depression formed as a result of deepening of chalk pit and a high permeability of karstic rocks can provoke movement of underground waters and migration of radioactive elements, which will be spread by an underground watercourse at big distances.
Thus, it's possible to say that in the centre of Europe there is a flagrant violation of all international norms and nature conventions. Moreover, ecologically dangerous project hiding a transboundary negative influence on environment is realised with participation of the European business and from a tacit consent of the neighbour-states Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. It isn't clear whether such authoritative organization as UN and UNESCO are informed on the situation being able to cause the wide-scale ecological disaster.
It's clear that the Belarus businessman Y. Chyzh and the European companies co-operating with him consider everything not connected with their personal benefit and profit as lyrics. Therefore it's necessary the corresponding European environmental institutions influence the development of situation and show that violation of the ecological legislation is unprofitable.
It's time pay attention to possible large scale negative consequences of this project, which will be shown in five-ten years but it will be too late.
In the given situation the immediate termination of any participation of the European companies in the project implementation on development of the chalk field “Hotislavsky” with simultaneous establishment of the international committee of experts and carrying out of independent estimation of influence of the planned activity on environment can become the only thing to do.
The representatives of the European business before dealing with the odious Belarus structures being under control of the president Lukashenko shall weigh carefully possible consequences of their participation in similar projects.