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City news, 24.05.2013 16:30

St.Petersburg environment forum embraces new agenda

St.Petersburg environment forum embraces new agenda

Saint Petersburg is hosting the Sixth Nevsky International Ecological Congress. This year the agenda focuses on green energy industry, ecological insurance, recycling of household and industrial waste. The forum is organized by the Russian Federation Council and the International Assembly of the CIS member states. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the official partner of the forum.
Environmental issues have grown into global ones in the 21st century. All countries are equally challenged by air pollution in big cities. Russia is no exception, though the situation with air pollution has started improving recently, says Konstantin Tsybko, the deputy chairman of the Committee for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection: “European statistics say that once a country starts using a higher grade of fuel, life expectancy for big city dwellers increases by one year. This year we’ve introduced Euro III grade fuel instead of Euro II which was commonly used until January 1st this year. A large number of Russian companies are already producing Euro V grade fuel. The main result of these measures is that the air in large cities has become cleaner.
Green energy and energy efficiency will take center stage at the forum. According to Mikhail Yulkin of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, top Russian companies are making effective use of energy-efficient and waste-free technologies.
"As the cost of energy rises, the cost of fuel goes up as well. Companies are thus forced to embark on energy-efficiency and energy saving projects in order to maintain their competitiveness on the market. Surgutneftegaz boasts an effective energy management program. Nowadays almost all pulp and paper mills use their own wood waste as a source of energy thereby reducing their dependence on energy suppliers".
As for industrial waste, experts say there should be a law under which companies will be obliged to recycle waste and use the best of global technologies for this process. A waste recycling program is currently under way in the Russian North where vast territories used to be littered with waste which was the result of oil production and oil exploration projects. The program will expand as the time has come to adopt standards employed by more and more countries all over the world, says Alexei Knizhnikov, who runs an environment protection program at the WWF.
"Waste recycling programs are crucial – they reduce pollution and make our economy more competitive. Low pollution levels increase the country’s competitiveness on the market as more and more consumers are opting in favor of countries where industrial damage to the environment has been reduced to a minimum".
The participants in the St.Petersburg forum will also discuss measures to make environment-related information more accessible to the general public. Given that this year is the Year of Environment in Russia, experts hope that Russia will join the Aarhus Convention, which stipulates that all information regarding waste disposals and toxic emissions should be made public. Public participation in decision-making and access to environmental matters will ensure better cooperation with the authorities and the business community and will secure an early transition to new, environment-friendly technologies.

News source: The Voice of Russia

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