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WWF reported on 423 kilometres of rivers polluted by gold-mining companies in Tyva Republic 

31 august 2020
WWF within "People for Nature" project supported by European Union examined satellite images of rivers in Republic of Tyva and revealed 15 cases of rivers’ pollution due to activities of gold-mining companies.
Experts reported all cases to the government and control authorities and track the results. Sattelite images' monitoring was implemented within "People for Nature" project funded by Euripoen Union. 

In June-August 2020, WWF experts and Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition revealed 15 facts of river pollution downstream of gold mining areas in the Republic of Tyva. The length of the polluted rivers totally was 423 kilometers. The analysis of sattalite images was carried out by experts of the Center for Satellite Monitoring and Civil Control (St. Petersburg) with the support of the WWF-Russia project "People for Nature", which is being implemented with the support of the European Commission.

In June and July, experts recorded water pollution of rivers totally about 5-50 kilometers long for the Bilelig, Systyg-Khem, Ooh-Khem, Shet-Khem, Chernaya rivers below the gold mining areas in Tyva. The Systyg-Khem river carries muddy waters to the Bolshoi Yenisei, where suspended particles are gradually settle. Earlier the consequences of gold miners were difficult to record, but development of modern technologies helps us “record all moves”. Satellite images can now clearly show the pollution of water with particles below the areas of gold miners. Since river pollution always brings problems not only to the environment, but also to local residents, the goal of the “People for Nature” project” is a quick identification of pollution and preventing further damage”, says Alexander Kolotov, WWF expert, Russian coordinator of the Rivers Without Borders environmental coalition, member of the Public Council of the Federal Agency for Water Resources.
Satellite images clearly show the sites of rivers' pollution.
(c) WWF

Each case of pollution in Tyva was registered by WWF experts and documents were sent to the Yenisei Interregional Administration of Rosprirodnadzor and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Tyva. Later the experts received official confirmation that all violations were admitted and further prosecution of the gold-mining companies was carried out by authorities.  

In June, based on documents provided by WWF and the Rivers Without Borders coalition, the Yenisei Interregional Administration of Rosprirodnadzor initiated an unscheduled inspection of the gold-mining companies in Tyva such as Artel on the Algiyak River, Vostok LLC on the O-Khem River and Oyna A / S on the rivers Bilelig, Black, Shet-Khem, Sistig-Khem in the Todzha region of the Tyva Republic.

In August the Yenisei Interregional Administration of Rosprirodnadzor confirmed the fact of pollution of the O-Khem River as a result of the gold mining activities of Vostok OSH. Vostok was brought to administrative responsibility and must pay fines in the amount of 280 thousand rubles. The fact of violations of the Water Code by LLC "Artel of prospectors" Tyva "was proved, the company was brought to administrative responsibility, administrative fines were imposed in the amount of 430 thousand rubles. A / S "Oina" was also brought to responsibility, fines were imposed in the amount of 290 thousand rubles.

The People for Nature project is implemented by WWF Russia and is funded by the EU. It aims at engaging a wider audience in environmental protection. The Project will run in 2019 – 2022. Its goals are to protect the forests through preventing degradation and illegal use of forests, and to reduce environmental impact caused by industrial processes through reducing air and water pollution and increasing the environmental responsibility of business.
For additional information please contact
Altai-Sayan ecoregional press-officer
Head of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregional Office