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The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Great Britain Katherine Leach visited Kapan Aarhus Center
On March 5, H.E. Mrs. Katherine Leach, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Great Britain to Armenia, visited Kapan Aarhus Center accompanied by Erik Gyulazyan, the Trade and Development Adviser to the British Embassy to Armenia.
The Aarhus Centre Coordinator briefly presented the guests the Center’s activity. As the Ambassador was interested in environmental issues of the region, the Centre Coordinator provided information about environmental problems of Kapan region and actions undertaken towards their solutions. Referring to the existence of tailing dams, Ashot Avagyan mentioned

that the waste waters are dumped into streams without chemical treatment, of which are irrigated vegetable gardens and parks of rural communities.

The dust rich in heavy metals arising from tailing dams through winds is being spread over arable lands of the nearby communities, polluted and made them worthless, depriving villagers of source of income. Preventing both the atmospheric air and the lands from pollution, as a result of various discussions it was proposed to set up a dense forest area along the perimeter of the tailings dam, which would reduce the impact of winds and pollution, but this purpose, was not materialized. Meanwhile, at the markets continues to be sold the fruits and vegetables dangerous to the human health, the list of which has been published by the experts.

It was also talked about the problem of repairing the “Mother stream” pipeline repeatedly raised by the Aarhus Center. The Coordinator informed that a program was implemented by the OSCE Office in Syunik region and GEF SGP, as a result of which has been carried out cleaning works of about 850 linear meters of pipeline, was prepared the design and estimation documentations.

Within the frameworks of the GEF Small Grants Program, between the OSCE Office in Syunik marz as well as with the former administration of “ZCMC” CJSC an agreement was reached to carry out the water- pipeline works jointly. After the alteration of “ZCMC” CJSC’s leadership, the company’s new management has given preliminary consent of co-financing. However the letter sent to the company’s leadership by the Achanan community about the co-financing is still under discussion and the final response to the letter has not been given.

Referring to the issue of the abandoned mines, the coordinator showed photos of yellowish water flowing from mines into the streets of the city. After drying the dust is polluting the atmospheric air by the winds and cars flow.

It was noted that geological exploration activities are carried out nearby Kapan city’s drinking water catchment basin, about which Kapan NGOs in collaboration with the Aarhus Centre sent a letter to the RA president. The meeting’s participant Armen Parsadanyan, chairman of “Sustainable Development” NGO of Kapan presented non-transparent works of mining enterprises separating the “ZCMC” CJSC transparent work.

The latter presented the issues of the “ZCMC” CJSC’s accidents, imperfection of legislation, social insecurity, not supporting the health care institutions, cultural and educational system and other problems. As well as mentioned that the NGO is not the enemy of the enterprise, he just wished that the voice of the community would be heard and the company’s management would response to the issues raised.

The Ambassador expressed gratitude for the information, promised to discuss the mentioned proposals with the leadership of the company and immediately went from the Aarhus Center to the “ZCMC” Company of Qajaran.

Ashot Avagyan
Coordinator of Kapan Aarhus Center
Tell: (+374) 93 79 59 21
E-mail: info_kapan@aarhus.am, kapan.aarhus@mail.ru
Translated by Anush Beybutyan