Anna Popova, the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation, said that gas infrastructure development should be implemented as soon as possible in Krasnoyarsk. In her address to the Federation Council she underlines that smog inflicts huge damage on the health of the residents of this heavily industrialized Siberian city.
According to the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor,) the urban detached houses the main source of this damage. This claim by the watchdog agency has surprised many people.
The discussions of Krasnoyarsk’s need for natural gas supplies have been on for a long time. The plan for installation of gas distribution services in the territory has been designed. Currently, it is undergoing a yet another upgrade. However, it is absolutely unclear when its implementation might start. Wek.ru has taken up the environmental issues in Krasnoyarsk many a time.
The city is one of the most ecologically unsafe in Russia. It is common knowledge that gas is an environmentally friendly fuel. The irony is that the Krasnoyarsk territory, which has huge reserves of hydrocarbons, cannot use them to the full extent. Oil and gas resources are concentrated in the north of the territory far away from residential areas and infrastructure connecting the central districts of this constituent region of Russia.
The leadership of the Krasnoyarsk territory makes comments on the situation reluctantly and euphemistically. This is understandable as it has no opportunity to influence the policies of the gas industry major Gazprom. The only thing it can do is to indulge in vain hopes.
“It is necessary to assess energy supply and fuel consumption, to design advanced patterns for municipal gas infrastructure development and to determine the most preferable locations for gas sources,” said Yury Lapshin, the Prime Minister of the Krasnoyarsk territory. “The Krasnoyarsk territory has already sent the first part of materials with updated gas reserves. We’re not summarizing the data on municipal needs. The final document should be submitted by March.”
The situation became more optimistic after reports on the forthcoming construction of the Power of Siberia-2 gas trunk line that will cross the Krasnoyarsk territory. However, this issue is unlikely to be solved immediately. Therefore, for now Krasnoyarsk’s residents are happy to get every opinion in support of gas supplies. Especially, when a top-ranking official like the Chief State Sanitary Doctor speaks out for it. According to Rospotrebnadzor, the cases of respiratory and oncological diseases have been slowly but surely growing in the region in recent years. All this is a consequence of the impact of polluted air. The city of Achinsk shows the most alarming statistics. It is followed by Krasnoyarsk and Kansk.
"In order to improve the condition of the atmospheric air, it seems advisable to develop a plan for centralized gas supplies to Krasnoyarsk in respect of the detached residential houses and facilities of small businesses that are not connected to the centralized heating system and use solid fuel," said Anna Popova.
Many of Krasnoyarsk’s inhabitants were shocked by her statement. Popova's address says that the significant contribution to the “black skies” over the city has been made by the detached households, as well as the aluminum plant. However, this opinion is distinctly different from that which has been commonly accepted in the area. Rospotrebnadzor’s statement only makes it clear that its officials have no idea about the situation in the city. Who would believe that the stoves in private houses could pollute the atmosphere more than the aluminum plant with a capacity of a million tonnes per year? Noticeably, the plant is one of the largest in the world. Or the three large heat-and-power central stations? Or the impressive number of cars? Again, in terms of smog, the hot and windless summer days are usually the most difficult ones for Krasnoyarsk. How might the stove smoke occur there?
Finally, in recent years, the number of detached households in Krasnoyarsk has seriously shrunk after the city’s preparations for hosting the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter University Games. The efforts to pull down the dilapidated dwellings have also brought some results. For example, the township of Nikolaevka was almost eliminated. Residents of as many as 400 houses resettled. In addition, another 200 houses are to be pulled down. That is why public activists find Rospotrebnadzor’s opinion illogical as a minimum.
“I am glad that the watchdog agency has finally understood how much Krasnoyarsk needs gas,” Roman Kazakov, the head of the People's Control in Housing and Communal Services, told wek.ru. “However, the focus has been strangely shifted from coal generation. First of all, gas services should be installed to CHP plants but not to the remainders of Nikolaevka. Anyway, the coal-mining companies will do whatever it takes to keep their high incomes. Their business is simple. Workers mine coal at the Borodino mine and burn it at the CHP plant. Then the company gains profit.”
According to the Siberian Generating Company of the Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, who is in charge of the Krasnoyarsk coal mines and the CHP plants in the city, gas services are unlikely to settle all the issues. Transition to it is associated with huge costs that will fall on people. Modern technologies make it possible to burn coal with minimal emissions. At present, experts in the heat and power industry are actively working on it.
“All power generating plants in Krasnoyarsk are designed to work on Siberian coals with low level of sulfur and ash,” says Sergey Borodulin, the CEO of Krasnoyarsk CHPP-1. “Technically, it is possible to convert them to gas though it is expensive and difficult. The question is whether this gas is available and whether its conversion is economically feasible. We advocate for a reasonable approach. The use of coal in the thermal power industry can be eco-friendly. To a great extent, it is already like that.”
By the way, sources told wek.ru that in the days ahead, the authorities of the Krasnoyarsk territory will hold an important meeting with Gazprom executives on the installation of gas services of the area. Most likely, the agenda will be connected with the parameters of the Power of Siberia-2 gas trunk line. Wek.ru will monitor the situation.