The Ministry of Environment urged to prevent the industrial extraction of amber from valuable swamps shutterstock

The Ministry of Environment urged to prevent the industrial extraction of amber from valuable swamps

Katerina Belousova

This could destroy 1,343 species of plants and animals

Environmental activists have called on the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources not to allow amber mining near Ukraine's largest wetland, the Syra Pohonya, without a prior environmental impact assessment.

The State Service of Geology and Subsoil has sold a permit for amber mining within a valuable wetland of international importance, the Ecoclub NGO reports on Facebook.

Environmental activists emphasized that this area is endangered, and local authorities have refused to create a protected area three times. However, if the EIA procedure had been carried out before the auction, mining would probably not have been allowed.

"Currently, the OVD procedure does not fulfill its function and allows for a possible negative impact on the environment. Already after obtaining a mining permit, geological and reconnaissance work can be carried out on the site, which will disturb the natural state of the swamp," said Yuliya Kvitka, an OVD specialist of "Ekoclub".

She added that such an order is illogical, because the entrepreneur first buys a permit and then evaluates its impact. However, OVD can stop the mining project, so the business risks losing the invested funds.

It is noted that Syra Pogonya, near which extraction is planned, belongs to the Ramsar sites of the aquatic ecosystem of international importance, which are protected by the Berne Convention. This marsh is part of the Emerald Network and an important ornithological area. In addition, it feeds the rivers in the dry season.

Eco-activists emphasized that amber mining can lead to:

  • reduction of the hydrological balance of the area;
  • disappearance of rare species of flora and fauna (625 species of plants and 718 species of animals, including 101 with international nature conservation status);
  • the disappearance of habitats of the rare velvet butterfly, the northern green-bodied dragonfly, migratory birds, the great hornbill, the snake-eater, the great pendant, the gray crane.

As EcoPolitic reported earlier, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources agreed to put up for auction a site of the largest swamp massifs of Ukraine Syra Pogonya on the border of the Rivne Nature Reserve for amber mining. Although the bequest of this territory had previously agreed.

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