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Премия рунета 2017

“Golden” rivers of Transbaikal and Amurskaya provinces are under satellite surveillance

23 may 2018
Wide scale satellite monitoring of water bodies is launched in Zabaikalsky and Amurskaya provinces with support of WWF Russia.

Environmentalists of the international coalition “Rivers without borders” and specialists from the Center of satellite monitoring and public control reveal cases of river pollution caused by gold dredging.

«Fighting with river pollution caused by gold dredging in Zabaikalsky and then in Amurskaya provinces is a planned implementation of our comprehensive approach to protection of water bodies in remote areas of Siberia and the Far East, - comments Peter Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur branch. – We think that the negative environmental impact from gold dredging is underestimated and as a result our rivers are thrown under gold dredging for the benefit of a handful of officially registered gold”.
Satellite monitoring

First results of satellite monitoring have been already submitted to the supervising agencies. For instance, in Amurskaya province the environmentalists registered the first cases of negative impact on water bodies from gold-dredging cooperatives: mud streams are flowing into the Unakha River from the tributaries of Uldegid and Olongro Rivers, where placer gold fields are located. Satellite data show that the Unakha River is polluted on the distance 90 kilometers up to its confluence into the Zeya water reservoir.

Another river in Zeisky district, the Ilikan River, was found polluted as well. The pollution originates from the inflow in the river of the Nikolaevsky creek and the Big Olongro River with placer gold fields. The pollution on the Ilikan River covers about 70 kilometers and then the polluted waters of the Ilikan are mixed with mud streams from the Unakha River.

«Pollution of the river with suspended substances along dozens of kilometers downstream from a golden dredging site is a serious argument to launch the inspection raid of supervising agencies, - said Alexander Kolotov, coordinator of “Rivers without borders” coalition. – Field inspections initiated by our signals very often prove the violation of the legislation by gold-dredging cooperatives.
«Amurskaya province is a new region for us and we thoroughly prepared to work on this territory, updating our GIS data and collecting information about the borders of the leased sites. – comments Olga Chupachenko, director of the Center of satellite monitoring and public control. – We hope that in Amurskaya province we will be as successful as in Zabaikalsky, and show up all the violators in true colors.”
Eugeny Simonov / WWF Russia

Satellite monitoring of water bodies near licensed gold mining sites in Amurskaya and Zabaikalskaya provinces will be continued till late autumn, the end of the field season. 

For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch