A Trans-Ural's village's residents sending signals of 'garbage disaster'

Will there be a new landfill near Sibay?

A Trans-Ural's village's residents sending signals of 'garbage disaster'
Photo: vk.com

“We've grown up here, we are against landfills at our home," say residents of the village of Tuyalyas, which is part of the city district of Sibay (Bashkortostan). In the Trans-Ural town, where until recently harmful gases were released from the quarry of the Uchaly Mining and Metallurgical Combine (UMMC), another conflict on environmental grounds is brewing. The residents of Tuyalyas don't want to see near their Tuyalyas a landfill, which should appear near the settlement. Concerned villagers took to the streets and called the head of Sibay for a serious conversation. However, the city authorities assure that there is nothing to worry about: there will only be a temporary object — a waste transfer site. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya investigated the situation.

“The whole village is dissatisfied with this dump”

As the scandals subsided after the smog from the smoldering quarry in Sibay, a new environmental “distress signal” has been received from the Trans-Ural city. The residents of the village of Tuyalyas, which is part of the city district of Sibay, are concerned that a landfill of household waste will appear next to their settlement. They posted the corresponding appeal on social networks.

“Currently, the life and health of villagers may be at risk — right next to the village, less than 2 km from the village, the administration made a decision to open a new landfill of household waste — in secret from the population, without coordinating or informing people," the open letter says.

As one of the authors of the appeal, local resident Alina Shamsutdinova, told the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya, there is almost no work in the village, people are forced to go to work in the city or “to the North”. Therefore, the villagers survive at the expense of the household, keep livestock. However, many pastures around are leased to the Magnitogorsk company Sitno, which grazes its horses here. After the herds, there is almost no grass left.

“Now we learn that the only piece of land where we can graze our cows, mow hay, our administration is giving under a waste landfill. The equipment that prepares the platforms has already been driven there. Our area is a territory of constant squally winds, all this garbage and waste from decomposition will fly at us," Shamsutdinova resents.

According to her, the residents of Tuyalyas wanted to inform the head of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, about their problem, who has recently visited Sibay. But he never came by. The head of the city administration, Rustem Afzalov, who was called to account by local residents, did not come to them until the last day.

“The whole village is dissatisfied with this dump. We do not want this polygon to be near us," Shamsutdinova adds.

“I'm not going to attack tanks”

The chairman of the territorial public council of Tuyalas, Islam Islambayev, told our correspondent that the villagers learned about the planned landfill only when the road to it began to be filled.

“Next to this landfill — about 200 metres away — there is a highway, 100 metres away — a railway. In 200-300 metres from it — streams where they take cows to drink. Another kilometre away is the Kizil River. Can you imagine the damage to nature?" Isambaev worries.

And after the appearance of special equipment, popular indignation reached a fever pitch, and people took to the streets.

“I grew up here. I'm against dumping in front of my house. We will express our opinion, but I am not going to attack tanks. All is the will of Allah!” Islam Israfilovich notes.

“Residents have been misled”

As the head of the information and analytical department of the Sibay administration, Irina Korepanova, explained to us, the resource of the landfill used by Sibay residents since 1970 has been exhausted, and its reclamation began on May 1. Waste delivered before June will be added to it. Then the authorities began to urgently look for a new place to dispose of household waste, and the decision was made not by the city district or village, but at the republican level. However, the ministry of nature management and ecology of the Republic of Bashkortostan did not comment on this situation at the time of preparing the material.

As the head of the information and analytical department of the Sibay administration, Irina Korepanova, explained to us, the resource of the landfill used by Sibay residents since 1970 has been exhausted, and its reclamation began on May 1. Photo: allufa.ru

“At the government meeting, this issue was discussed with Andrey Gennadievich Nazarov (First Deputy Prime Minister of the region -editor's note), the ministry of ecology, the regional operator and the ministry of housing and utilities. And the decision was made: while the place of the new landfill is not defined (the project is not ready yet), we will organize a waste transfer site," Korepanova told.

As a result, the officials chose a site near Tuyalas for the temporary placement of waste. According to the law, garbage can be taken there for 11 months. And then all the accumulated waste must be transported to a new landfill: one of the options under consideration is on the territory of the Baymak district. These issues are being worked out by the regional operator Eco-city.

By the way, instead of the next dump, it was proposed to build a waste incinerator or waste processing enterprise. But, as our interlocutor from the city administration reported, the investor did not go further than the project. Besides, such ideas caused an “allergic” reaction among citizens, since the topic of ecology is very painful for Sibay, which until recently was suffocating from the sulphur dioxide released from the quarry.

“There was no road to the waste transfer site. We have found funds and are filling the road so that it is convenient to transport [the waste]. But the residents, seeing that construction is underway, were misled: they thought that a landfill was being built," Irina Korepanova gave her version of what is happening.

According to her, the site where the waste transfer site is planned to be located is intended for industrial use, this land is not for agricultural purposes. And they can't graze animals there.

“The plots are huge there," she says. “There should be enough land for everyone — both farmers and residents to graze their livestock, and to place a waste transfer site. Everything is within the laws and regulations.

In the meantime…

Concerned residents of Tuyalyas on the eve of the day went out with posters to the rally, where they decided to legally seek to cancel the decision on the waste transfer site, which, in their opinion, was taken behind the scenes by the municipal and regional authorities. As Alina Shamsutdinova told Realnoe Vremya, after the meeting, the police demanded that she write an explanation, threatened with a fine and strongly asked not to post photos and videos from this gathering.

In the evening, the head of the Sibay administration, Rustem Afzalov, accompanied by environmentalists, came to them. The event was held at a local school. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, only ten activists were allowed to attend the meeting. The representatives of the city authorities tried to present their arguments. However, after listening to the demands of local residents, they promised that the object would not be located near the village.

“We have been given the word that the waste dump will be put behind the railway — 6 km from the village. There is an abandoned garden. Let's see if the head of the city keeps his promise," Alina Shamsutdinova told about the interim results.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Bashkortostan