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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 23:51 GMT
Report outlines Russia's deadly pollution
Factories emitting smoke in Russia
Respiratory disorders in Russia are due to air pollution

Sixty per cent of Russians live in an environment harmful to their health, according to an official report published on Monday.

The study, which was carried out by experts working for Russian President Vladimir Putin, also expresses concern over the lack of access to safe drinking water, the decline of agricultural land and poor facilities for dealing with waste.

Russia's environmental problems are well known. But the survey indicates they are getting worse with no sign of improvement or urgent action from the country's authorities.

Environmental impact

The report paints a picture of the impact of Russia's poor environment on human health.

A Russian man suffering from the effects of pollution
A majority of Russians breathe polluted air
Environmental conditions, it states, contribute to the deaths of 300,000 Russians a year - far exceeding the number who die in road accidents.

Nearly 65 million Russians live in areas where air pollution exceeds safe levels, leading, in turn, to a rapid growth in the number of chronic respiratory disorders.

Drinking water is unsafe in half the country's regions, while the soil is increasingly infertile and forest fires ever more common.

Declining funds

The study points to the catastrophic decline in official spending on efforts to protect the environment, which currently amounts to just one-tenth of its level during the last few years of the Soviet Union.

It also identifies the low level of environmental awareness as a major factor in the country's ecological problems.

The report concludes that the country's laws are failing to protect the environment.

It calls on Russia's parliament to both simplify existing environmental legislation, and to introduce a system of fines for environment-polluting activities.

See also:

06 Jun 01 | Europe
23 Aug 00 | Europe
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