Thursday, 11 June 2020, 19:31:41
Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev reported to the public about the work done in 2019.
A year ago, by decree of the president of the country, the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources was created. During this time, the department has achieved impressive results. In particular, work was carried out in the following areas:
1. Environmental protection.
3. Water resources.
4. Forestry and wildlife.
Emissions of harmful substances into atmosphere decreased by 10%
The ministry conducted an audit of environmental problems in segments of a national and regional nature, as well as the degree of their solution.
An analysis of regional environmental problems showed that air pollution and waste management are among the most pressing issues.
According to the results of environmental monitoring, in 2019, the cities of Aktobe, Atyrau, Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, Ust-Kamenogorsk were characterized by high levels of air pollution.
The total level of harmful substances stabilized at the level of 2018, which is about 2.5 million tons. The volume of discharges in 2018 amounted to 1.1 million tons, in 2019 decreased to 0.98 million tons or by 10%. This indicator was achieved due to the implementation of environmental protection measures and the introduction of environmentally friendly technologies by enterprises.
In 2019, to improve the environmental situation, nature users invested over 172 billion tenge, which is 7% more than in 2018.
For example, Aluminum of Kazakhstan, a company in Pavlodar region, launched an electrostatic precipitator of German technology, which demonstrates a high level of tail dust cleaning up to 50 milligrams per meter and gives good results. Also at the end of this month it is planned to install a second filter. The total emission reduction in the sintering shop is 2.4 thousand tons per year.
In the Karaganda region, the Zhezkazgan smelter, owned by Kazakhmys Smelting, plans to build and commission a new sulfuric acid workshop using advanced technologies. This will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 3 times, from 60 thousand to 20 thousand tons.
To address issues of increased air pollution in the industrial cities of Ust-Kamenogorsk and Temirtau, as well as the disposal of oil waste in the Mangystau region, the ministry has reached agreements on reducing emissions with a number of companies. In particular, Arcelor Mittal Temirtau pledged to reduce emissions by 30% by 2024, Kazzinc will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 20% due to the introduction of the best available technologies in its production. KazMunayGas within a few years will eliminate historical oil waste with a volume of about 3.6 million m³.
Share of municipal solid waste processing in Kazakhstan increased by 6 times
Currently, 125 million tons of municipal solid waste have been accumulated in 3.2 thousand landfills of the country. Over 5 million tons of waste is formed annually. The annual growth of municipal waste is 5%. More than 70% of the country's population have access to waste collection services.
“We have almost exhausted the capacity of landfills, the vast majority (83%) of which do not comply with environmental and sanitary standards, and the regions do not have the appropriate infrastructure for recycling,” the minister said.
Mirzagaliyev noted that thanks to the mechanism of extended producer responsibility introduced in 2016, it was possible to increase the share of solid waste processing by 6 times — from 2.6 to 15%. However, this is extremely insufficient. For comparison — in developed countries, this figure exceeds 30%.
A high share of processing is noted in Mangystau (33%), Almaty regions (23.3%) and in the city of Shymkent (22.7%), and a low one is noted in Akmola (3%), East Kazakhstan (3.3%), West Kazakhstan (8.6%) regions.
The issue of the growing number of unauthorized landfills also requires attention. As part of space monitoring in 2019, more than 9 thousand landfills were identified. The ministry has drawn up waste disposal schedules. About 30% (2.7 thousand), with a volume of about 400 thousand tons, has been eliminated, and this is almost the annual amount of waste generated in the Aktobe region or the city of Nur-Sultan.
In a number of regions, the recycling rate remains extremely low. In particular, in the Aktobe and Akmola regions, the share of recycling is 3%.
At the same time, in order to solve the issue of illegal landfills in the new Environmental Code, the issue of the mandatory installation of GPS sensors in garbage trucks is provided.
How to reduce such a large amount of waste?
Today, the national average tariff is 200 tenge, in order for an investor to come, it is necessary to increase the tariff tenfold.
“We cannot do this. In this regard, we have studied the European experience, and we see that the only possible solution, taking into account climatic conditions, is the ‘Waste to Energy’ technology. This is the mechanism of burning waste to produce electricity, which is sold in a common electric network,” Mirzagaliyev said.
Thus, the industry has an investment attractiveness and it is expected that private companies will come to the country.
The ministry initiated a corresponding bill, which is being considered in the Majilis of the Parliament. After the adoption of the Law, the ministry plans to hold the first auctions.
To date, there is an active study of the issue of akimats on the availability of land, infrastructure and guaranteed waste loading.
I also found a solution to the issue of persistent organic pollutants. Since Soviet times, the country has accumulated a tremendous amount of POP-containing waste. These are more than 40 thousand pieces of PCB-containing oils, transformers and capacitors, 82.6 tons and 4,100 liters of obsolete banned, unusable pesticides, etc.
In 2019, the ministry reached an agreement with UNIDO on transferring the installation of hazardous waste disposal equipment to Kazakhstan.
Also, Mirzagaliyev noted the ongoing work on the problem of hazardous waste Daryal-U. This problem could not be solved within 15 years due to the lack of funding for the repacking and disposal of waste.
“We worked on this issue with ROP LLP and thanks to them this issue was resolved. By the end of June, hazardous waste will be removed from the shore of Lake Balkhash and then destroyed within the framework of the project with UNIDO,” the minister said.
Enterprises which implemented best available technology to be exempted from emissions charges
To effectively address current environmental problems, each region has developed target indicators of environmental quality, taking into account their specifics, and on behalf of the Head of State, akimats have developed comprehensive plans to improve the environmental situation.
However, the packages of measures taken by the local executive bodies to improve the environmental situation are insufficient, and measures are needed at the national level.
And on behalf of Elbasy and the President of Kazakhstan, based on the approaches of the OECD member countries, a new draft Environmental Code has been developed. The project went through an active stage of discussion. About 2 thousand amendments were received, the project was changed by 40-50%.
One of the main areas is the implementation of the international environmental principle of “polluter pays,” which says, instead of paying penalties, it will be economically beneficial for the polluter to prevent pollution and introduce the best available technology.
Compensation will be provided for environmental damage in kind (i.e., to restore the violated components of the environment), instead of collecting monetary compensation in the budget.
A real opportunity to improve the environmental situation in the country is the introduction of the best available technologies in the industry. For the transition to the Best Available Technology (BAT), it is planned to create a corresponding Bureau, as well as develop reference books on BAT, conduct a technological audit of large companies with the subsequent modernization of their production. In this matter, the ministry draws on the experience of European countries, where the amount of pollutant emissions was reduced by 94%.
At the same time, enterprises that introduced BAT will be exempted from payment for emissions. If they do not switch to BAT, their rates of payment for emissions will increase significantly. This, in turn, will be a motivating tool for nature users. This is not a quick question; companies will need a transition period. But according to the results, Kazakhstan will be able to achieve European standards for reducing pollutants.
100% of environmental payments to be aimed at solving environmental problems of regions
Also, the public and international experts constantly raised the issue of the current situation with environmental payments and their spending. Today, environmental payments are a source of replenishment of the budget, and not to reduce the harmful effects on the environment. Only 45% of incoming funds are allocated by local executive bodies to environmental protection. And some regions send less than 10% of received payments to the budget.
In this regard, the new Ecocodex stipulates that 100% of the funds received in the local budgets of environmental payments will be used to solve environmental problems.
At the end of last year, the draft of the new Ecocodex was submitted to the Majilis of the Parliament and now there is a discussion at the site of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Only joint action to help preserve country's natural wealth
The issue of the formation of environmental culture and education is a priority for the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources. Last year, the ministry initiated environmental campaigns “Birge. Taza Kazakhstan," ‘’Birge. Zhasyl Kazakhstan” which attracted more than 560 thousand people, who collected 340 thousand tons of garbage, planted more than 1 million 20 trees.
Within the framework of the national project “Birgemiz: Taza Alem”, environmental protection measures are taken, as well as cleaning rivers and forests, planting trees and training in sorting garbage.
In February, the first republican rally of eco-activists was held. To coordinate and promote environmental initiatives throughout the country, eco-ambassadors have been identified in each region.
For example, a 10th grade student from the city of Nur-Sultan Aruzhan Sakhariyanova actively promotes the ideas of the Zero waste flow among peers and adults. Saltanat Tashimova from Almaty is the initiator of the creation of the Green Commission, a group of illegal logging.
“If 5% of the population in everyday life will consciously relate to the environment, then I am sure that in this case it would be possible to instill an ecological culture and consciousness into the whole population. I urge every resident of the country, starting with the sorting of household waste, to save electricity and water, reduce the use of plastic bags and contribute to environmental protection. I am sure that only joint actions will help preserve the country's natural wealth for future generations,” Mirzagaliyev addressed the citizens of Kazakhstan.
On prospects of discovering new mineral deposits
Talking about the development of the geological industry, Mirzagaliyev noted that the key challenge facing the industry is the low replenishment of reserves.
“The oil replenishment ratio is 1.5. It would seem that the growth is not bad, but this was achieved mainly due to Kashagan. Without Kashagan, the replenishment coefficient would be 0.9, for gold — 0.29, for copper — 0.08, for polymetals — 0.21,” the minister informed.
Over the past decades, many large deposits of polymetallic ores have been worked out: for example, Zyryanovskoe, Nikolaevskoe, Belousovskoe, etc. By the period from 2025 to 2040. several more large deposits will be developed that are city-forming and affect the economy of the regions.
However, Kazakhstan has significant prospects for new discoveries. So, in the Akmola and Kostanay regions, as well as in the central, eastern and southern regions, there is the potential to open gold deposits.
New lead-zinc deposits can be discovered in Central and Southern Kazakhstan, in the Ore Altay, as well as in border areas with Russia and China. There are prospects for discovering new deposits in other ore minerals — tungsten, molybdenum, aluminum, tin, as well as rare earths.
There is potential in terms of hydrocarbons. Geologists have identified 15 sedimentary basins with estimated equivalent fuel resources of about 76 billion tons. The degree of knowledge of sedimentary basins is different, of which 5 are developed, 5 are poorly studied, and 5 are of little promise.
Today, the entire volume of oil and gas production is carried out in 5 developed basins. Of these, the largest is the Caspian, which accounts for about 80% of the country's resource base.
Until today, our main oil and gas province is still attractive for investments in subsoil use from domestic and foreign companies, as well as from KazMunayGas.
In this regard, in order to increase the hydrocarbon reserves of the main basin, all exploration work should be aimed at studying deep horizons. The same areas of work are outlined for the remaining developed basins.
In order to increase the geological and geophysical knowledge of five poorly studied sedimentary basins — Severo-Turgay, Irtysh, Aral, Syrdarya, Shu-Sarysu — it is necessary to conduct 2D seismic work. Based on the results, promising areas for setting up further exploration work through investments will be determined.
This trend is a confirmation of the need to intensify exploration today, since at least 10-15 years elapse between the discovery and launch of a new field.
“In this regard, on behalf of the Head of State, we have begun developing the State Geological Exploration Program for 2021-2025. It is envisaged to determine the oil and gas potential of poorly studied sedimentary basins and the study of ‘deep horizons’ within mining areas,” Mirzagaliyev said.
The implementation of the state program will increase the studies area by 2025 from the current 25% to 37% of the available for study, estimate the predicted mineral resources and identify about 50 potentially promising mineral objects, increase the degree of study of sedimentary basins: developed basins — up to 60%; poorly studied — up to 10%.
In addition to these tasks, the implementation of the state program will increase the employment of the population during exploration by 60 thousand people, attract investment and create new jobs in the construction and operation of mining and processing plants. Such results will undoubtedly positively affect the solution of social issues in the regions.
The program has already been developed and submitted to the government for consideration.
As part of the development of the infrastructure of the geological industry, in early April 2020, Kazgeology together with ALS in Karaganda launched a modern geochemical laboratory with a capacity of up to 350 thousand samples annually. There are no analogues in Kazakhstan. The launch allowed subsoil users to conduct research in Kazakhstan, whereas earlier they had to turn to foreign centers, this led to a loss of time and financial resources.
At the end of 2019, they began developing the National Mineral Resources Data Bank. In 2021, this work will be completed. This will be a window for investors to access an electronic database of geological information.
Important area of economy is water management
Magzum Mirzagaliyev explained how the flow of the country's rivers is formed.
“The volume of water resources in Kazakhstan is almost 101 km³. Of this volume, 54% of the water is generated domestically and 46% comes from neighboring countries. Groundwater reserves amount to 15.5 km³ / year, explored in the territories of more than 3.5 thousand deposits,” the minister said.
Kazakhstan is among the countries experiencing high water stress, where it took 60th place out of 68 states. According to experts, water consumption in Kazakhstan will grow by 56% by 2040 and the shortage of water resources can be up to 12 km³ per year.
As Mirzagaliyev noted, at present, the state of water supply in the country still satisfies the needs of economic sectors and the population. However, the following main problems of the water industry can be noted. Firstly, the projected decrease in the country's water supply in the medium and long term due to a drop in river flow and an increase in water consumption. Secondly, high water consumption during transportation due to critical wear of canals and irrigation systems. In particular, costs in agriculture reach 50%. To reduce them, canal repair and the introduction of automatic water management are required. Thirdly, there is a lack of attracted investments in infrastructure and qualified personnel.
“In this regard, we are faced with the task of maintaining a water balance of 100 km by increasing additional surface water resources by 2030, building new irrigation systems to increase irrigated land from 1.4 to 3 million hectares, modernizing and reconstructing the water management infrastructure, digitalization of the water industry, water conservation, etc.,” the minister said.
Reconstruction of over 6.7 thousand km of canals planned during next three years
The following work on waterlogging was carried out. In 2019, water infrastructure was restored on an area of 66 thousand ha.
Also in 5 regions of the country (Almaty, Zhambyl, Turkistan, Kyzylorda and Aktobe regions) water supply and restoration projects for about 0.5 million ha of irrigated land were implemented. The total amount of financing from borrowed and budgetary funds is 274 billion tenge.
In general, over 3 years it is planned to reconstruct more than 6.7 thousand km of canals, 4 reservoirs, 4 hydroelectric facilities, 239 vertical drainage wells and 23 thousand other water facilities.
Eighty-eight thousand jobs will be created, including during the construction — 11 thousand jobs. The introduction of restored irrigated lands into circulation will contribute to the creation of 77 thousand permanent jobs in the countryside. Agricultural products worth 165 billion tenge will be grown annually. This will have a multiplicative effect on the further development of the sectors of trade, processing of products, and livestock.
In 2019, in 2019, 11 projects for the construction of group water pipelines were implemented in terms of the delivery of drinking water to settlements. 205.4 km of networks were built, 21 rural settlements were provided with drinking water, and the water supply system of 39 thousand residents was improved.
In the next two years, it is planned to complete 6 projects with a total length of 1.2 thousand km. The water supply system of 250 thousand people will be improved.
Forestry and wildlife issues — among top priorities
There is an increase in forest reproduction. In 2018, 52.7 thousand ha, last year — 64 thousand ha.
Work was carried out to create a green belt of the capital on an area of 4.6 thousand hectares. We plan to create similar zones around the regional centers of Atyrau, Kokshetau, Karganda, Aktobe, Kyzylorda, Turkistan. Work projects have already been developed. By 2030, it is planned to increase the green areas to 68 thousand ha.
Work is ongoing to prevent forest fires. There is a decrease in the areas covered by forest fires. However, despite the measures taken, 191 forest fires have been registered since the beginning of the year on an area of more than 16 thousand hectares. Damage from the fire amounted to 1.8 billion tenge.
To maximize the involvement of the country's population in public control over the state of forests, a special website has been launched.
Preservation of saxaul plantations is an important issue for us. In 2019, in the framework of cooperation with the Korean Forest Service, 5 thousand hectares were sown on the land of the Aral Sea. This year 2.5 thousand hectares will be planted.
Also in 2019, in Almaty, Zhambyl, Kyzylorda and Turkistan regions, 165.6 thousand saxaul seedlings and 23.5 thousand ha of saxaul seeds were planted.
In general, this year the ministry is developing a draft law “On the plant world” and the concept of preserving the biological diversity of Kazakhstan until 2030.
Kazakhstan to use American model for developing national parks
The ministry gives priority to the development of eco-tourism.
Currently, Kazakhstan has 13 national parks. In 2019, they were visited by 1.5 million people. The main problems of the development of ecotourism in national parks are the low quality of accommodation, catering and the lack of appropriate infrastructure: equipped trails, information centers, rental points, souvenir shops, viewing platforms, gazebos, etc.
In this regard, the experience of many countries has been studied. For example, in Yosemite National Park (California) there are 400 tourist and recreational facilities, 5 million people visit annually, and 7 thousand people are employed. The effect for the economy is $625 million. It was decided to use the American model for the development of national parks, according to which preference will be given to the development of hiking trails and routes, without capital construction, with placement of glampings, campings, viewing platforms, ethno-auls, camps along the trails.
In this regard, the corresponding master plans were developed for the development of 4 national parks of the Almaty mountain cluster: Ile-Alatau, Charyn, Altyn-Emel, Kulsay Kulderi.
It is supposed to build 13 modern visit centers only in national parks of the Almaty region, to equip more than 590 km of walking routes.
The ministry carried out calculations of projected opportunities for the development of ecotourism in Kazakhstan until 2030. So the volume of private investment will reach 500 billion tenge, the flow will increase to 12.5 million tourists, up to 20 thousand additional jobs will be created.
“In recent days, social networks have been troubling the issue of providing national parks for long-term use. And it is very gratifying that the inhabitants are not indifferent to the fate of our national parks! Our ministry is always ready for an open dialogue. My deputy has been holding meetings with eco-activists for the second week in Almaty to discuss all the issues,” the minister emphasized.
A Council for the Development of National Parks will also be created, which will include experts in this field, representatives of the ministry, the public, and environmental activists. The council will be able to monitor the fulfillment of obligations by the investor, participate in the discussion of the national park development plan and, if necessary, influence the implementation of its goals.
Kazakh legislation amended to increase liability for poaching
In the animal kingdom, an annual increase in the number of rare ungulates and saigas is observed. The saiga population reached 334 thousand, an increase of 55%.
However, it must be recognized that poaching is inevitable.
The head of state pays special attention to the fight against poaching. In 2019, the ministry, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the General Prosecutor's Office, amended the current criminal law to increase responsibility for poaching.
A separate article has been introduced into the Criminal Code, which provides for strict punishment for encroachment on the life and health of environmental inspectors and huntsmen.
Aware of the hard work of the inspectors, the ministry intends to raise the status of inspector in accordance with the instruction of the President.
Thus, to combat poaching, new standards have been developed (special equipment, bed chambers, body armor) that provide our inspections with modern facilities.
Recently, the Head of State awarded a number of inspectors letters of appreciation for his contribution to the fight against poaching.
Eleven thousand people employed in fisheries
In the economy, fisheries play an important role. Last year, 45 thousand tons of fish were caught, which is 23% higher than the level of 2018 (36.4 thousand tons). The industry employs 11 thousand people.
180 fish farms are engaged in fish farming in the country, in which more than 1 thousand (1126) people work. There is an increase in marketable fish farming. Last year, 6.9 thousand tons of fish were grown, which is 19% higher than in 2018. The plan for this year is 7.8 thousand tons.
Last year, as a result of processing fish for a total of $60 million, 30 thousand tons of products were exported, which is 16.6% more than in 2018.
An acute problem in the fishing industry is the shadow turnover of fish products. It is 5 times higher than the average annual fish harvest. It is necessary to digitize the entire process of fish turnover. Removing fish from the shade will increase the tax base by 40 billion tenge.
Due to the development of the resources of the Caspian Sea, there is a high potential for increasing the domestic market from 66 to 120 thousand tons, fishing from 45 to 60 thousand tons, and fish farming from 7 to 60 thousand tons.
The ministry is currently working on a number of legislative measures to subsidize the industry, contributing to the long-term development of the fishing industry, attracting investment and creating jobs.
“The main task facing the ministry is ensuring the quality of life of the population by providing a favorable environment, quality drinking water and preserving our natural resources,” minister Mirzagaliyev said in conclusion.