Turkmenistan develops environmental strategy

Apr 08, 2013 12:00 AM

In efforts to bring its environmental policies in line with international obligations and to try to solve a number of on-going problems, Turkmenistan has announced new environmental initiatives after holding meetings on the subject in February and March, officials said.

First and foremost is the government decision to allocate 20% more funding to protect the environment, they told Central Asia Online.

"This is the right move," Batyr Ballyyev, chief of environmental protection at the Ministry of Nature Protection, said, pointing to lack of funding as a main obstacle to progress. "Now we have the opportunity to deal with the environmental problems that have accumulated over time."

Funding would renew interest in Turkmen environmental science, Badkhyz Nature Reserve researcher Amanberdi Sylabov told Central Asia Online.

"Over the years, many top-quality specialists and scientists have left the country," he said. "We are finding it very difficult to work without them."

Sylabov called for the biology department at Magtymguly Turkmen State University to admit more students and for the government to encourage Turkmen scholars living abroad to come home.

Compulsory eco-insurance announced

In March, President Gurganbuly Berdymukhamedov issued a decree requiring individuals or companies performing potentially environmentally hazardous activities to retain ecological insurance policies.

The collected premiums would not only help pay for any accidents but would also help fund other initiatives that would improve the overall environmental situation, State Insurance Organisation specialist Yazgul Piriyeva told Central Asia Online.

Ballyyev did not rule out the possibility of using the environmental insurance funds for "creating safe working conditions in hazardous plants in order to prevent man-made disasters, as well as to reduce harmful emissions and production of industrial waste."

The chemical industry, fuel and energy sector, and agriculture are among the industries required to retain coverage by June 1, Piriyeva said. The Ministry of Nature Protection will control the allocation of funds.

Awareness promotes action

Some of those initiatives should include environmental education, Gayypnazar Makhmutov, a nature protection inspector from Ashgabat, told Central Asia Online, adding that he considers the compulsory insurance an "undoubtedly good idea," but that awareness and understanding are keys to prevention.

"Some people want to catch all the fish from the waters, kill all the rabbits and saigaks [an antelope species] in the Karakum Desert, and burn all of the grass and leaves collected during neighbourhood clean-ups," he said. "This attitude is what needs dealing with before anything else."

Another effort has begun, a public awareness campaign to convince Turkmens to stop chopping down saksaul trees for heating fuel and to use natural gas instead.

"Natural gas is [now] used by the entire Turkmen population, and the villagers no longer cut down saksaul, saltwort and other desert shrubs to heat their homes," a Dashoguz-based nature protection inspector, also named Gayypnazar, said.

The return of saksaul groves to the Karakum Desert is "creating fantastic conditions for wild desert animals to breed and propagate," he said.

"The work done up to now is only a small part of what needs to be done," he said, adding that he hopes that worthy initiatives will continue and that the money from new subsidies and insurance premiums will indeed go into environmental endeavours.

Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

read more ...
« August 2019 »
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Register to announce Your Event

View All Events