International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” organized examination of the most valuable protected areas of Donetsk region affected by military actions. The examination was conducted in the national natural park “Sviati hory”, the regional landscape park “Slovianskyi kurort” and the natural reserve “Kreydiana flora” located on the outskirts of Sloviansk town. The experts examined the scale of damage and took samples of soil in the areas of shelling for testing.
«Here, on the outskirts of Sloviansk, are located the most numerous natural reserves of Donetsk region. This is the main recreational zone of Donbas traditionally visited by residents of the region who come here for health improvement, – says the director of EPL Olena Kravchenko. – The national park “Sviati hory” and regional landscape park “Slovianskyi kurort” is really the best place in Donetsks region for health improvement because here the river Siverskyi Dinets and the biggest in the region forest area are located. The micro climate created by these factors considerably differs from stringent climate conditions of a steppe zone. However, currently the touristic and natural value of the recreational area is seriously undermined because these are the areas where the most dramatic events during the whole period of ATO took place, and this inevitably impacted the nature.
«In the territory of Krasnyi Lyman forestry that occupies a bigger part of “Sviati hory”, in many places the forest is damaged as a result of shelling by Grad missiles. More than 1000 ha of pine forests burned down as a result of fires, – shares his impression EPL environmentalist Oleksiy Vasyliuk. – Our visit to Donetsk region detected other earlier unknown consequences for the environment. In the forests there have been constructed numerous blindages, open and sheltered trenches, which required logging of numerous trees that were used for strengthening fortifications».
One of the main problems of forestry in liberated territories of Donetsk region is impossibility to liquidate remains of forest fires. This problem is caused by consequences of the administrative reform that was analyzed by EPL in 2012-2014. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Donetsk regional administration created in 2013 after liquidation of the branch of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in the region refuses to issue permits for sanitary activities in the national park. Moreover, in case of another fire, its consequences are likely to be much more serious.
EPL lawyers and environmentalists together with journalists of “5th channel” and “New channel” visited a division of the Ukrainian steppe natural reserve “Krejdiana flora” that suffered during fights for the bridge near Zakitne village. «In the territory of the natural reserve that consists of massive chalk slopes of high bank of the Siverskyi Dinets river, there are heaps of garbage, imprints of military equipment, fortifications and explosion craters. The reserve is the only natural area of steppe chalk slopes of the Siverskyi Dinets of that size, – says EPL environmentalist Alla Voytsikhovska. – Protective regime of this territory is the strictest in Ukraine. Any economic activity and even visits are prohibited in the territory of the reserve. But currently it is turned into usual for today’s Donbass fire place covered with chalk fortifications and explosion craters».
EPL plans to continue studying the consequences of environment ruining in the ATO zone and helping natural reserves in the liberated territories in the East of the country.
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