TOXIC SAND EXTRACTION AREA IN THE OCCUPIED CRIMEA INCREASED
Ukraine continues to monitor the consequences of extensive sand extraction in the Verkhnio-Churbash and Nyzhnio-Churbash tailings pits, where the poisonous waste of the «Kamysh-Burunsk iron-ore integrated plant» was stored.
The tailings pits (special structures for the safe storage of toxic materials), operated from 1968, were intended for the collection of poisonous waste from the «Kamysh-Burunsk iron-ore integrated plant». The discharge of pulp into the tailings pits stopped in 1994 along with the work of Kamysh-Burunsky iron ore plant; however, toxic waste is probably used for the construction of infrastructure facilities in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
Despite the restraining order of the occupation authorities of the Russian Federation on the extraction of toxic sand from these tailings pits, in 2019 the area of active work areas increased significantly compared to 2018. On the basis of special processing of satellite images in the territory of Nyzhnio-Churbash (about 280 hectares) tailing pit, the extraction area increased by 25% - up to 24.27 hectares (18.35 hectares on 20 September 2018). On the site was identified extraction machinery, freight transport, as well as 3 dredgers. The occupation authorities are trying to cover toxic sand extraction by «works to prevent flooding of residential buildings in Pryozernyi». However, dredgers actually conduct toxic sand extractions.
On the territory of Verkhnio-Churbash tailing pit, the area of active sand extraction also increased, the total area of about 7.9 hectares (7.2 hectares on 20 September 2018). Extraction machinery and freight vehicles were identified on the site.
During the process of extraction and delivery toxic materials from sand inevitably get released into the air, and atmospheric precipitation dissolve poison through the destroyed dam of the tailings pits into the Black Sea.
Extraction of toxic sand from tailings near Kerch is a direct violation of the environmental legislation by the occupational authority. Besides, carrying out such activities creates the emergency situation and threatens the health of people and Black Sea ecology.