Con­di­tions Con­ducive for Liv­ing in Our Hands

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY - Boriy ALIKHANOV, Deputy Speaker of the Leg­isla­tive Cham­ber Oliy Ma­jlis Sergei SAMOILOV, Mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Cham­ber Oliy Ma­jlis

One of the most im­por­tant en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges of our time around the world has be­come the acute prob­lem of pre­serv­ing the for­est and its wealth. De­spite the fact that the to­tal for­est area on the planet is about 38 mil­lion sq. km, or one third of the land area, the trends as­so­ci­ated with the de­for­esta­tion of the Earth are of con­cern not only to en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, but also to the en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

This is due to the fact that ac­cord­ing to ex­pert es­ti­mates, only in the last 10 thou­sand years a per­son has de­stroyed 26 mil­lion square me­ters. km of forests. At the same time, there has been a pro­gres­sive trend of a steady re­duc­tion in the area of world forests – ev­ery day and ev­ery sec­ond, the Earth is los­ing more than 1.5 hectares of vir­gin for­est. Each year, more than 13 mil­lion hectares of for­est are cut down, caus­ing about 12-18% of global car­bon emis­sions to grow, which is al­most equal to the sum of to­tal car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from all trans­port. De­for­esta­tion ac­counts for 12-20% of global green­house gas emis­sions con­tribut­ing to global warm­ing. Along with this, forests are dy­ing from fires, il­le­gal log­ging, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, the im­pact of dis­eases and other causes, as well as in con­nec­tion with the trans­for­ma­tion of for­est ar­eas for var­i­ous hu­man needs.

At the same time, the re­duc­tion of for­est area leads to ir­repara­ble neg­a­tive pro­cesses of global im­por­tance for the whole of na­ture and the vi­tal ac­tiv­ity of all mankind. Forests have in­valu­able en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and eco­nomic value. Green ar­eas, forests are the fac­tory of clean air; they are the lungs of our planet and pro­vide us with oxy­gen. Forests are home to 80% of land crea­tures. In ad­di­tion, they pro­vide food and a healthy en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple; help pre­serve the fer­til­ity of the soil and land­scapes. Also, tim­ber is the main source of re­new­able en­ergy through­out the world.

In Uzbek­istan, as in most coun­tries of the world, a va­ri­ety of ac­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties are held aimed at pro­tect­ing forests and green spa­ces.

Of course, the most im­por­tant com­po­nent that char­ac­ter­izes the eco­log­i­cal con­di­tion of any ter­ri­tory of a city, district, re­gion is its gar­den­ing. Green plant­ings pu­rify the air of pol­lu­tants and sat­u­rate it with oxy­gen, soften dry­ness and air tem­per­a­ture, quench the noise level. I would like to dwell on one of the green­est megac­i­ties in the world, which is the city of Tashkent. In it, the area of green­ery is 35% of the to­tal area of the city, where 18 parks and the Botan­i­cal Gar­den are lo­cated, oc­cu­py­ing an area of about 230 hectares, more than 220 species of trees and about 30 types of shrubs grow. The most com­mon pine, ju­niper, po­plar, oak, elm, chest­nut, catalpa, Ori­en­tal sycamore and oth­ers. In the parks and squares of the city a large num­ber of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ex­otic flora brought from other coun­tries (lin­den felt, Nor­way maple, tulip tree, large-flow­ered mag­no­lia, Amer­i­can ash, pa­per tree, ginkgo, Ja­panese safora, box­wood, cy­press and oth­ers). Com­pared with 1991, the area of green space per in­hab­i­tant of the city in­creased by al­most 10 square me­ters. m. Cur­rently, at a rate of 50 square me­ters per per­son, ac­count­ing for an av­er­age of al­most 69-71 square me­ters. m area oc­cu­pied by trees and shrubs. The level of land­scap­ing in Tashkent is 2-3 times higher than in such cities as St. Peters­burg, Bei­jing, Moscow, Seat­tle, de­spite the fact that the dry and hot cli­mate of the cap­i­tal of Uzbek­istan is less fa­vor­able for plant ac­tiv­ity. Only in the last two or three years, sev­eral new park ar­eas have been bro­ken up in the cap­i­tal, part of the as­phalt pave­ment in the places of rest of the towns­peo­ple is re­placed by flower beds and lawns.

Mod­ern­iza­tion of in­dus­trial en­ter­prises, the in­tro­duc­tion of new clean­ing meth­ods, the with­drawal of some of the most dan­ger­ous en­ter­prises from the cen­tral part of the city, as well as reg­u­lar mon­i­tor­ing of pol­lu­tion sources at en­ter­prises and high­ways, also con­trib­uted to the fact that the level of air pol­lu­tion in Tashkent is much lower than in cities such as Bei­jing, Tokyo, Chicago and sev­eral oth­ers.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, the emis­sions of pol­lu­tants de­creased by more than a quar­ter. The level of air pol­lu­tion in the city in terms of dust com­plies with san­i­tary and hy­gienic stan­dards, and car­bon diox­ide, phe­nol, sul­fur diox­ide, ni­tro­gen ox­ide and am­mo­nia are 1.5-2.5 times lower than san­i­tary and hy­gienic stan­dards.

In terms of to­day's

re­quire­ments, en­ter­ing a new stage of state de­vel­op­ment, the “road map” of sys­temic re­forms in all spheres of our so­ci­ety’s life has be­come the Ac­tion Strat­egy for the five pri­or­ity ar­eas of de­vel­op­ment of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan in 2017-2021, pro­posed by the head of our state tak­ing into ac­count not only ob­jec­tive as­sess­ing our po­ten­tial, but also crit­i­cally an­a­lyz­ing short­com­ings. It is a fun­da­men­tal strate­gic doc­u­ment of fur­ther real ac­tion re­newal, where the nat­u­ral, his­tor­i­cal, na­tional, de­mo­graphic and en­vi­ron­men­tal fea­tures in­her­ent in Uzbek­istan are fully taken into ac­count. The an­nual state pro­grams for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Strat­egy in­clude a num­ber of mea­sures to pre­serve the unique flora and fauna, in­crease soil fer­til­ity and ame­lio­rate im­prove­ment of ir­ri­gated land, and re­ha­bil­i­tate the eco­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the Aral Sea re­gion. I would like to note that in or­der to sta­bi­lize the eco­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, only in the Aral Sea zone over the past few years projects have been im­ple­mented to­tal­ing more than $ 5.5 bil­lion. Only in the last 10 years on the dried bot­tom of the Aral laid about 350 thou­sand hectares of for­est pro­tec­tive plant­ings from sax­aul and other salt-re­sis­tant plant species. An un­prece­dented step aimed at im­prov­ing the eco­log­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, pre­serv­ing bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity, restor­ing de­graded ecosys­tems and de­vel­op­ing a net­work of pro­tected nat­u­ral ar­eas in the Aral re­gion, was the adop­tion of the Com­pre­hen­sive Pro­gram to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of the Aral dis­as­ter, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the Aral re­gion in 2015-2018 ”, which in­cludes more than 500 projects to­tal­ing over $ 4 bil­lion, as well as the State Pro­gram for the De­vel­op­ment of the Aral Re­gion in the 2017-2021 years, the re­al­iza­tion of which will be al­lo­cated funds from the State bud­get and to at­tract in­vest­ments in ex­cess of 8 tril­lion soums.

The Eco­log­i­cal Move­ment

of Uzbek­istan also pro­poses a pro­gram of ac­tion to de­velop and im­ple­ment mea­sures to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly area in the coun­try. As a pi­lot project, it is en­vis­aged to grad­u­ally turn the ter­ri­tory of a cer­tain area into a “green ter­ri­tory” with fa­vor­able con­di­tions for liv­ing, work and re­cre­ation of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion. To this end, it is planned to im­ple­ment a set of mea­sures such as the for­ma­tion of a spe­cial in­vest­ment pro­gram and a plan for mo­bi­liz­ing fi­nan­cial and ma­te­rial and tech­ni­cal re­sources for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “green ter­ri­tory” con­cept. In par­tic­u­lar, the cre­ation of new parks, gar­dens, green al­leys on the ter­ri­tory of ma­hal­las, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and en­ter­prises, the con­struc­tion of bi­cy­cle paths, sports and recre­ational and chil­dren’s play­grounds in each district, equip­ment of re­cre­ation places for the el­derly in each district ma­halla, ex­pan­sion of the range of free med­i­cal ser­vices for so­cially vul­ner­a­ble groups of the pop­u­la­tion, or­ga­ni­za­tion of eco-clubs, eco­log­i­cal cir­cles and “green pa­trols”, cre­ation of eco­log­i­cal cor­ners in preschool ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, schools, lyceums, col­leges of the district, Cre­at­ing re­gional head­quar­ters of pub­lic in­spec­tors of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trol and the or­ga­ni­za­tion of their work ef­fec­tively, the or­ga­ni­za­tion of vis­ual pro­pa­ganda on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and the in­volve­ment of var­i­ous cat­e­gories of pop­u­la­tion in na­tional eco­log­i­cal con­tests, or­ga­ni­za­tion of re­gional com­pe­ti­tions on the sub­ject of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Based on the prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence gained, fur­ther ex­pan­sion of such “green ter­ri­to­ries” is en­vis­aged through­out the coun­try.

At the same time, plant­ing and re­newal of trees and shrubs in cities and towns is a con­stant process that must be car­ried out con­sis­tently and tak­ing into ac­count the eco­log­i­cal con­di­tion not only of the ter­ri­tory, but also with the spe­cial prop­er­ties of green spa­ces – ab­sorb car­bon diox­ide and re­lease oxy­gen, pu­rify the air from dust and var­i­ous pol­lu­tants, cre­ate fa­vor­able con­di­tions (in­crease hu­mid­ity, re­duce tem­per­a­ture, re­duce noise), and cre­ate and im­prove aes­thetic ap­pear­ance. For ex­am­ple, the dust con­tent of air in green ar­eas of a res­i­den­tial mi­crodis­trict is 40% lower than in open ar­eas; up to 70-80% of dust aerosols are cap­tured in them. At the en­trance to the park or park, the air tem­per­a­ture de­creases by 0.60 Cel­sius, the rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity of the air in­creases by 5–10%, the wind speed de­creases by seven times, and in­side – by 11 times. Cur­rently, in­ten­sive gar­dens and vine­yards are be­ing cre­ated on an area of more than 20 thou­sand hectares. Soon they will an­nu­ally ab­sorb car­bon diox­ide emit­ted in the or­der of 100 thou­sand units. mo­tor ve­hi­cles, which is about a quar­ter of the to­tal num­ber of cars reg­is­tered in the coun­try.

There­fore, plant­ing trees and shrubs in cities and towns should be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the gen­eral plan for the de­vel­op­ment of the ter­ri­tory, and when car­ry­ing out con­struc­tion work it is nec­es­sary to ob­serve the con­di­tions for the max­i­mum con­ser­va­tion of veg­e­ta­tion cover and plant­ing new trees and shrubs, as well as the restora­tion of the ir­ri­gation net­work. Na­tional leg­is­la­tion for vi­o­la­tions in the field of ecol­ogy pro­vides for both ad­min­is­tra­tive and crim­i­nal li­a­bil­ity, in­clud­ing il­le­gal log­ging and dam­age to trees in cities with manda­tory com­pen­sa­tion of dam­age.

These is­sues were dis­cussed in July this year at a ple­nary meet­ing of the Leg­isla­tive Cham­ber of Oliy Ma­jlis, where the elec­tronic col­lec­tive ap­peal of cit­i­zens “On the Re­form of the Tree Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem in the Ter­ri­to­ries of Cities and Vil­lages”, posted on the Men­ing Fikrim web site, was con­sid­ered.

In or­der to pre­vent the cut­ting of trees and pre­serve green­ery in cities and vil­lages, a joint res­o­lu­tion of the State Com­mit­tee on Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion of June 19, 2018 and the hokim of Tashkent city of June 21, 2018 “On strength­en­ing the pro­tec­tion of trees and shrubs ex­ist­ing in Tashkent, pre­vent­ing il­le­gal log­ging of trees, cre­at­ing a sys­tem of pre­serv­ing trees and peren­nial shrubs when al­lo­cat­ing land for busi­ness and ur­ban plan­ning”.

Ac­cord­ing to this doc­u­ment, from Septem­ber 1, 2018, only the Depart­ment for the Pro­tec­tion of Trees and Peren­nial Plants will have the ex­clu­sive right to cut and form trees un­der the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Im­prove­ment in Tashkent. In or­der to en­sure pub­lic con­trol, a sys­tem of no­ti­fi­ca­tion of self-gov­ern­ing bod­ies of cit­i­zens and district in­spec­tors on pre­ven­tion of the per­mits, planned and car­ried out work for cut­ting and form­ing trees is in­tro­duced. Em­ploy­ees of the pa­trol and in­spec­tion ser­vices to en­sure pub­lic law and or­der of the Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Af­fairs of the cap­i­tal are charged with car­ry­ing out pre­ven­tion and pre­ven­tion of il­le­gal log­ging of trees and shrubs in the ar­eas as­signed to them. When is­su­ing per­mits for tree felling on land plots al­lo­cated for con­struc­tion or other pur­poses, the prin­ci­ple “10 trees for each tree felled” is in­tro­duced. This ex­pe­ri­ence was pro­posed to spread through­out the coun­try.

To solve these prob­lems, we, ecol­o­gists, need to strengthen our ac­tiv­i­ties to fur­ther en­hance pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the prac­ti­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion of mea­sures not only in ad­dress­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, but also in con­duct­ing widespread pro­pa­ganda for the ra­tio­nal use of nat­u­ral re­sources without harm­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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