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Culture news, 27.08.2007 15:21

Greenpeace Invites Governor for Trip

boat_trip By Isabel Stone

Special to The St. Petersburg Times

Photo by Alexander Belenky

Governor Valentina Matviyenko has turned down the chance to see for herself the extent of pollution in St. Petersburg’s waterways after environmental group Greenpeace invited her to take part in an inspection of the Neva in one of its boats.

Dmitry Artamonov, the St. Petersburg director of the environmental organization, said he had invited Matviyenko on the trip so that “ ...she will be able to satisfy herself that the catastrophic pollution of the rivers with sewage is not a figment of ecologists’ imaginations,” reported on Wednesday.

“We want Matviyenko to be able to see the situation with her own eyes, and smell it with her own nose,” Artamonov added.

Greenpeace said it sent the invitation to Matviyenko on Wednesday, asking her to participate in a boat trip planned for Monday.

The activists intended to show Matviyenko the most problematic and putrid sewage discharge sites, explain the results of recent research into the problem and make suggestions as to what measures should be taken to improve the situation.

“This is a concern for all people living in St. Petersburg, therefore Valentina Matviyenko should turn her full attention to the problem of the uncontrolled dumping of untreated sewage waste,” Artamonov said.

In the invitation to Matviyenko, Artamonov wrote: “Our vessel will be waiting for you on August 27, 2007 at 10:30 on the pier where the Smolny Embankment and Ulitsa Smolnaya intersect.”

But Matviyenko’s press spokesman Natalia Kutobayeva said Thursday that the governor will not join the inspection.

“Unfortunately, Matvienko will not be able to attend,” Kutobayeva said. “She is always very busy on Mondays and she has already got other appointments arranged.”

Although Greenpeace said they contacted Matviyenko directly by sending her the invitation on Wednesday, Kutobayeva denied receiving any invitation, saying that it was a pity that Greenpeace had communicated with the governor only through the media.

Greenpeace launched a new project to clean-up St. Petersburg’s waterways called “A Clean Neva” at the beginning of June.

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