Staunton, November 18 – Most countries around the world have had one silver lining from the pandemic-induced economic crisis they are living through: With reduced economic activity, the amount of poisonous wastes being discharged into the environment has declined. But in this as in so much else, Russia is an exception.
According to a new FinExpertiza study, the number of cases in which poisonous discharges were released from Russian firms during the first three quarters of 2020 is a third higher than the country’s average over the last ten years and twice as high as during the same period in 2019 (rbc.ru/society/17/11/2020/5fb26d119a7947780c13f546).
In fact, the researchers found, there were almost as many poisonous discharges by Russian plants during the third quarter this year – 125 – than during the entire year in 2010 when there were 126. That year until this one was the highest since records began to be maintained in 2005.
FinExpertiza president Elena Trubnikova says that at the start of the pandemic, many expected the closure of firms to lead to an improvement in water, air and land quality. “However, things have turned out to be somewhat more complicated: the main industrial sites continued to work” and during the pandemic, there was less concern about environmental rules.
Put more baldly, the pandemic-induced economic crisis in Russia hit firms that were contaminating relatively little but not those that have been contaminating the environment a lot and the latter not only continued to spew more contaminants into the air, water and land but did so will less concern about being held accountable.
Because of that, Russians in contrast to other nations will suffer in yet another way from the coronavirus pandemic, by the kind of environmental contamination that the others have at least in recent months been able to reduce or even avoid.