Armenia prepares eco-bomb on border with Azerbaijan
    Environmentalists alarmed

    SOCIETY  09 June 2023 - 10:35

    Timur Rzayev

    Armenia is afoot to build a large metallurgical plant worth $70 million in the village of Arazdoyan, which borders on the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The construction of the plant will destroy the ecosystem and pollute the air and water with toxic wastes. Naturally, this causes justified alarm to Nakhchivan residents, who don't want to observe indifferently as Armenia commits yet another environmental crime near their homes...

    Azerbaijani environmentalists are also seriously concerned about the situation and have already made a corresponding statement. In the statement they accurately point to the huge environmental risks related to the Armenian plans on the plant, which will cause huge, irreversible damage to the environment, affecting the entire region. Caliber.Az talked to some of the environmentalists who made the statement.

    "At this stage, we have no clear plans as to what the planned plant will be - only its size, cost of $70 million and capacity of 180 thousand tons. But we have questions: what kind of metals will it melt - non-ferrous or ferrous metals, where will be its landfill, what is the usual wind rose there [i.e. where will the wind carry harmful waste], where is the underground water in the future landfill, where does it flow - to Nakhchivan or to Armenia? There are many questions and it is necessary to assess risks, prepare a report and present it to the public transparently, because a potentially dangerous object is built right on the border, and it may affect our country. That is, the construction assessment document should be reviewed by the relevant structures of Azerbaijan, and the opinions of Azerbaijanis living near the construction site should also be taken into account. If the need arises, our experts are ready to go to Armenia. If Armenians agree as goodwill to let us see the construction plans, it will be a positive step,” Specialists in the Use of Water NGO Chairman Amin Mammadov remarked.

    He then noted that if Armenia is going to cause environmental damage to the region, it is a gross violation of the 1991 Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, to which Azerbaijan and Armenia are parties.

    “Non-compliance of Armenia with environmental requirements will be another evidence of Armenia's destructive policy in the region, grossly violating the provisions of international documents, international commitments, to which it is a party,” he expressed.

    Mammadov pointed out that in such a case, Azerbaijan will prepare and send a complaint to Switzerland, where the Secretariat supervising the implementation of the convention is located and will use diplomatic pressure. He noted that no one will support Armenia as it has to comply with environmental norms.

    “We have the example of Okhchuchay River before our eyes: we demanded from international tribunes to stop polluting the river, but then, during the occupation, we didn't get any support from the world, and now we are ready to file a suit against the German company, which took part in the pollution of the river.

    In the case of the construction plans, we are entitled to the support of the world. And Türkiye should say its word, since the border is near, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, since all the potential waste will be discharged into the Araz, and the water from the river is used for irrigation in Iran. How many times have we waited for Iran - at least through the Foreign Ministry - to voice at least verbal protest, but we haven't heard anything...

    Only one minor Iranian ministry official once condemned Armenia, but the Iranian government has always been silent and is silent in this case. I hope our efforts will yield results and that Armenia will not create an ecological disaster on the border,” he concluded.

    Similarly, environmental expert Rauf Mammadov drew attention to a number of important factors that clearly show the violation of international norms by the Armenian side.

    “Let's start with the fact that Armenia has already caused huge damage to the ecology of Azerbaijan for almost 30 years of occupation of our lands. Valuable species of trees were cut down by Armenians, subsoil with minerals was looted, water was poisoned with chemical wastes, especially in the Okhchuchay River...

    It would seem that it is time to stop. But alas, we see new plans with tons of toxic chemical waste in the Araz River, which is already experiencing difficulties after the construction of a cascade of hydroelectric power plants by Iran. Moreover, the news about the upcoming development of the Amoulsar gold mine in the border region of Armenia with Azerbaijan makes us well aware that Armenia's failure to comply with international standards in the mining industry poses a serious environmental threat to Azerbaijan and the region as a whole,” Mammadov stressed.

    He also pointed out that the Armenian government has decided to make money at the expense of the health of both its citizens and residents of neighbouring countries without thinking about environmental consequences.

    “It cannot be called anything else but ecological terror on Armenia's part. Unfortunately, Armenians have real accomplices - thus, if the Okhchuchay River was polluted by the German company Cronimet which worked in our occupied territories, Armenia intends to commit the current environmental crime with a company from the United States of America.

    Unfortunately, I see that the Armenian government does not care about the ecology of its country and the entire region. We have already mentioned Ohchuchay and Amoulsar mine, this project too, but there is also the Metsamor nuclear power plant, a potential nuclear bomb, and during the Armenian occupation, the condition of our Sarsang reservoir caused much anxiety, as no proper maintenance was conducted there.

    That is, the current project is another one among those which, first of all, harm Armenia itself, as well as the entire region. But somehow, we understand this better and are more concerned about this fact than Armenians. Therefore, it is necessary to act to prevent a great danger,” he finalised.


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