The fire in the Chernobyl area – the largest since the 1986 accident



The fire in the Chernobyl area - the largest since the 1986 accident

Kiev “wins” the first place in the world in terms of air pollution, the Zone loses tourist attractions and the health of fires. And the business is not only in Chernobyl …

Friday April 10, Kiev broke an anti-record record – it turned out to be the city with the highest level of air pollution in the world (!) According to the rating of IQ Air, which deals with measuring instruments of air pollution and offers its own solutions to this problem. Air quality monitoring at thousands of stations is underway and, that morning, Kiev dominated the rating of the most air polluted cities in the world, receiving 159 units. And although now the rating on this site is again headed by the Asian cities – Chinese Shenyang, Kathmandu, Dhaka – and Kiev with 64 units dropped to 49th place in the ranking, Kiev is not much easier on this subject. The surge in pollution in the city was due to massive cases of dry grass burns, which turned into fires. The Kiev region burns here and there for several weeks. One of these fires still occurs in the Chernobyl area. Tour operators are horrified to calculate losses; environmentalists have not yet started to assess the impact on the ecosystem and the atmosphere in cities

In 2015, it burned heavily, but now it is stronger. Fire is approaching the border with Belarus

Among the main causes of air pollution in Kiev in the urban research project team LUN City called vehicles, thermal power plants and prolonged fires in the Kiev region. Oleg Savitsky, expert in climate and energy policy at the Ecodia Center for Environmental Initiatives, is convinced that fires are a major factor. “And it’s not just Chernobyl – they also burn grass on other sides of Kiev,” he said. For five days, for example, they put out a fire on the peat bogs in the Borodyansky district near the village of Pilipovichi. It started by burning dead wood and ended with 30 hectares of burned area.

The main air pollutant in Kiev is generally automobile transport, but so far fires prevail, agrees her colleague Marina Ratushnaya, coordinator of the ecological pollution program for ecology. “From March 23 to April 4, firefighters went to put out the fires in the ecosystems of Kiev 131 times!” It describes the magnitude of the problem.

The fire in the Chernobyl area - the largest since the 1986 accident

But the biggest problem is still with the exclusion zone. It has been burning since April 4 and, today, they do not provide forecasts to overcome the disaster in the state emergency services. Separate burning centers are preserved in the territory of the Korogodsky, Kotovsky and Denisovetsky forests – the budding soil and the burning of forest waste. Red spots on the map of the area – the village of Chistogalovka and Leliv, flood plain of the Grezlya river, urban village. Polesskoye, the villages of Tarasy and Vladimirovka, according to the State Agency of Ukraine for the management of the exclusion zone. As of April 11, 319 people and 85 equipment, including three planes and three helicopters from the State Emergency Service, which dropped about 300 tonnes of water, were already involved in fighting the fires.

“The inflammation in the Polessky region, where the fire started, has been eliminated, the fire has moved over the territory of three forest districts. Quadrocopters are used to identify new outbreaks, “said Victoria Ruban, head of the media relations sector of the State Emergency Service in the Kiev region. According to her, there is no longer any distribution; the liquidation continues with the use of the same number of people and equipment. Only the rotation of workers is carried out: they are replaced by those who have worked for 2-3 days. The difficulty with extinction is that the forests are too dry – grass, branches, leaves. “The specificity of the Chernobyl area also lies in the congestion of forests. Every morning and every evening, there is a round trip to the territory, and each time we find new cells, ”explains the press officer of the National Emergency Service of the Kiev region. “The weather is windy, the fire is sometimes carried for hundreds of meters.”

The fire in the Chernobyl area - the largest since the 1986 accident

Morning and evening, a round trip of the territory

The firefighters stand at the fire sites and try to locate the fire, that is to say that they do not go out, but wait until the allocated space is burned and ensures that it go no further, says Yaroslav Emelyanenko, president of the Chernobyl Tour Operators Association, director of the national tour operator in the Chernobyl tour area. . He manages to regularly visit the places and control them thanks to the organization of a voluntary assistance to the rescuers – they are bought and brought by respirators, cards, water, snacks, fuel.

Online messages from users suggest that the fire has spread to the left bank of Pripyat. It is difficult to know where it exploded when an entire forest burns. “And it burns from the Polessky district at a distance of 100 km, to the village of Dityatka,” remarks Victoria Ruban. The State Agency for Zone Management reported on Sunday that there had been no fire on the left bank of Pripyat, and Yaroslav Emelyanenko confirms this. “Perhaps, for the fires on the left bank, they took the flames of the cooling pond around the perimeter, because the fire from the village of Leliv went there. But it’s not the left bank of Pripyat, ”he says. – But the center of the Korogoda area in Chistogalovka, Leliva, Yanova, as well as the “red forest”, burned. This morning, according to Emelianenko, the firefighters tried to prevent the fire from the “red forest” from spreading on the road to Yanov station itself, connected to the town of Pripyat with forest waste, which would instantly burst . Around three in the afternoon it became known: unfortunately, the fire spread on the road, skirted the Yanov station, then reached Pripyat and now 2 km from the radioactive waste storage facilities from Podlesny.

“And how then to extinguish Pripyat – a forest town, I don’t even know. Further on, there are several kilometers of dead wood up to the border with Belarus, and the fire can already take on an international scale”, describes Yaroslav He says Belarusian rescuers have already expressed their willingness to help, and today a large planning meeting for the special extinguishing operation took place. There were still fires in Chernobyl, the last of which was particularly destructive – in 2015. But “the current Chernobyl fire is the most significant,” said Emelianenko.

Losses include tourist spots and entire generations of animals

“I hope the forces that finally put out the fire will join. If the city of Pripyat perishes, it will be without exaggeration a catastrophe of international scope ”, is certain Emelianenko. “The fire has already destroyed many sites that we have submitted to the UNESCO lists as tourist sites.” The village of Leliv, the recreation center with wooden houses “Emeraude”, was completely destroyed, even metallic objects from the tourist spectacle were won in Kopachi, the head of the association lists the losses. “The situation is critical, at least Pripyat must be preserved, otherwise we will lose the Chernobyl area as a memorial, tourist attraction,” he said. “So far, they have not described the losses, but 30% of the objects that have been shown to tourists in the center of the area have already been lost.” The old churches of the village of Krasnoye, on the left bank of Pripyat, burned down along the perimeter, are intact, and miraculously there was a whole military town.

The fire in the Chernobyl area - the largest since the 1986 accident

Losses include tourist sites

For the flow of foreigners who came to Ukraine each year specifically for Chernobyl, the existing roads were already scarce last year. Consequently, the organizers of excursions, in anticipation of the season, have submitted new routes to the administration of the area. Unfortunately, the grid could not be extended. “There are even fewer objects. Therefore, the association will have to work not only to punish those responsible for the disaster, but also to reproduce, to create new locations, ”says Emelianenko. People need visualization, not dry stories. Therefore, tour operators buy, for example, old equipment similar to that which participated in the liquidation (the real one has been sawn into metal for a long time), explains Yaroslav. “We put on the buses, and show tourists what the population has been evacuated about, we suggest smelling” that same “Ikarus”, “he explains. It is a pity that it is just as easy not to restore villages and destroyed nature, human health.

It is still difficult to assess the impact of fires on the ecosystem. “The fertile layer of the soil, the houses of wild animals are destroyed, the young generations are dying. Birds will not return to places where nests were burned, – describes the effect of arson attacks on the dead at the town hall. “Long-term impact on the ecosystem, soil and living organisms.” The smoke will blow, but nature will not rise so quickly.

We are threatened by micropowers and radiation

Open field forest fires produce dangerous air pollutants, says Marina Ratushnaya, in particular the fine dust fractions PM 2.5 and PM 10. “And all of that flies, as shown by NASA satellite images, the exclusion zone specifically towards Kiev, “says the ecologist. – The weather changes and the concentration of pollutants, the direction of their distribution too. Now there is a lot of hope for the rain. Even in Chernobyl, pollution has not increased – radionuclides have long settled in soil and plants. But when they started to burn, the radiation dust increased. “And here, someone is already lucky – somewhere settles down, somewhere not. Maybe it will happen to someone in the garden, then people will eat contaminated vegetables, someone else will breathe the dust, others will not smell it. There is only the redistribution of radiation dust, ”explains Marina Ratushnaya. And in fact, far from all the burning results, the Kievites will feel with their noses – many harmful emissions do not smell.

All air quality meters in the past few days have noted a significant excess of pollution up to the “unhealthy” red danger level, according to the PUD Urban Research project page on Facebook. “We are also analyzing the measurement results from the Central Geophysical Observatory,” explains Anna Denisenko, coordinator of the city’s urban research project PWUD. – There are many memes on the Internet that nature is erased through quarantine. In reality, we see something else.

According to Denisenko, these air purity meters measure the concentration of the PM 2.5 and PM 10 dust fractions – very small particles that can get into the lungs and blood. May cause or complicate respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. “Since March 27, we have observed a sharp increase in the concentration of PM 2.5 in the air of Kiev. If the morning of March 25 the air quality index was at level 45 – “Good”, then on the morning of March 27, March 30, it was already “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” (105 and 101, respectively) – that is, for children, the elderly, people with respiratory problems, cardio vascular diseases ”, explains Anna. Then, he said, there was a recession and from April 5 the situation got worse – the morning of that day the air quality index was “unhealthy – 172. On April 10, the situation was similar – 152 units. “If we compare a number of indicators from the Central Geophysical Observatory one day before quarantine (March 11) and one day during quarantine (April 9), we find that air quality has even deteriorated Says Anna.

Worst of all, according to environmentalists, in Ukraine there is still no single modern system for monitoring the state of the atmosphere, says an expert from Ecodiy, and therefore the concentration of fine dust in the air is not even calculated. “And since there is no modern state system for controlling air quality, the state is blind, deaf and mute in this regard,” characterized Oleg Savitsky. “Since there is no responsible and consistent attitude towards the problem, as well as a responsible person in the government, the authorities are silent on this matter.” However, last year, the decision regarding the introduction of the new system and the inclusion of fine dust in the list of pollutants has always been adopted, explains Ratushnaya. Unfortunately, it is still at a very early stage of implementation. The Rada is also considering two bills (one – the government) on increasing the responsibility for setting fire to dead wood, causing forest fires and burning leaves. “It is very likely that they will be considered this week or even today,” said Marina Ratushnaya.

Tatyana Negoda, Kiev

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