European Interest

Pollution alarm sounded in Ukraine’s industrial cities

Flickr/nejix/CC BY-ND 2.0
The powerplant near Dnipro, Ukraine.

Five cities in the Ukraine, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Mariupol, are suffering from increased pollution, according to a Czech-Ukrainian team of experts.

The research was conducted by non-governmental organizations Arnika (Czech Republic) and Ecoaction (Ukraine) and financed by the Transition Promotion Programme of the Czech Republic.

As reported by Arnika news online, Marek Šír, expert from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, issued the following statement: “We found several sites contaminated with heavy metals and organic pollutants. The most polluted river sediments were found in Kharkiv and Zaporizhia, especially by cadmium and zinc. Whereas the area affected by the industry is vast, it is highly probable that other sites with a high concentration of pollutants that represent a risk to human health can be found. It is necessary to continue with analyses of the environment and protect the population”.

“Serious contamination of free-range poultry egg samples by dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kryvyi Rih was discovered. Contamination by persistent organic pollutants may occur also in other home-grown food sources. The situation in Kryvyi Rih seems to be most disturbing,” Jitka Straková, Arnika’s expert on toxics and waste, added.

According to Maksym Soroka, expert on environmental protection and co-author of the study, even though industrial plants are visible, the pollution is not. “Our objective was to check to what extent polluted air affects the environment, and thus health of inhabitants. Levels of contamination may seem to be not that shocking at the first sight. However, the samples were not collected in factories but in residential areas. Since the industry has polluted sand in playgrounds, we have a serious issue.”

Explore more