Dangerous emissions

There's an extremely widespread (especially among representatives of the industry and state officials) opinion that economic and social progress inevitably lead to destruction and pollution of the environment, and that those who are against harming nature are against progress.

In fact, it's not true. Rational natural resources management, recycling and others allow society to evolve in harmony with nature, conserving environment and human's habitation. Such a social evolution is the goal of Greenpeace.

What comes to mind when discussing the "poisonous fruits" of modern civilization? Most probably one imagines a chimney expelling sickening black and yellow smoke. Or a pipe from which a foul-smelling grey-brown substance is flowing.

For many years in our country industrialization was the primary concern. Even the simplest purification facilities have been considered something secondary, non-compulsory - something negligible which is only interfering with the economic progress. It's difficult to say whether this approach was justifiable...

As a result, in many Russian regions the water and ground are poisoned for many kilometers around "industrial giants". But still there are people and their children living on that land, growing fruits and vegetables in their small gardens... No wonder the estimated life expectancy is significantly shorter in Russia than in Europe or North America. Is the situation changing for the better now? That's a rhetorical question. Looking at the other countries' experiences we can say that it is indeed changing, but only where there's strong civil movement demanding and obtaining these changes. Otherwise businesses prefer to spare on environmental protection and people's health.

Is something changing in Russia? Of course, it is. On the one hand, the economic crisis and shutting down of many dirty plants have improved the environmental situation in general. (Still it's not really desirable to achieve positive changes in this manner alone.) On the other hand, the recent flaws in the Government's work led to cancellation of pollution fines by the Supreme Court. For several months plants were not forced to pay for their pollution, if they didn't wish to do so: one of the main reasons for switching to the new clean technologies has disappeared. And although the Constitutional Court has restored the system of fines in December 2002, it was restored along with all its flaws: from the short list of pollutants to the wide-spread "non-formal" regulations of the fines' sums. Now the Supreme Court has cancelled the 'pollution tax' again. The situation is looking more and more like a bad comedy. At the same time many foreign (and especially European) consumers of Russian production demand a careful treatment of the environment, because they don't want to help to advance its destruction. Thus the situation in Russia is being created by many diverse processes.

Confronting pollution of the environment is one of the main aims of Greenpeace in Russia. Our goal is to assist the creation of conditions that will allow pollution decrease and environmental protection (as our daily-life norms). Greenpeace is a part of social movement for clean environment, for the life conditions worthy of humans.

But visible pollution is only the tip of the iceberg. Too seldom a deadly poison is being linked with a simple plastic bottle in one's mind. And still even the most commonplace things can be dangerous for the environment. In some past years it was discovered that many products and goods to which we were accustommed from the childhood are very dangerous. First of all, (it's a) products which contain chlorine, which is not found in nature as an isolated substance.

Chlorine easily comes into contact with organic substances creating poisonous dioxins. These strongest poisons cause many serious diseases: they damage nervous system and liver, brain and skin, causes cancers, endocrine system disorders, dysfunction of the reproductive system and others. Moreover, their "lifespan" is very long, their complete decomposition takes decades and even centuries. They're in the list of the planet's most poisonous substances and are called "persistent organic pollutants" (POPs).  Programmes exist to eliminate these substances in many countries. The problem of chlorine pollution is a real issue for Russia, which is why Greenpeace pays it special attention. Greenpeace envisages the solution of this problem in (first of all) re-profiling of the dangerous industries.

One of the main directions of the Greenpeace toxic campaign's work is informing and educating customers. Everyone has the right to choose production that doesn't harm environment and human's health. Everyone should know just how safe every product is.