Reducing harmful emissions, improving Water Code, developing ecotourism — Mirzagaliyev holds reporting meeting with population

Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev held a reporting meeting with the population, reporting on the results of the ministry's work for 2020 and 5 months of this year, as well as the main priorities for the medium term.

So, according to him, the activity of the ministry is carried out in 4 main directions. These are:

1. improving the quality of the environment;

2. geology;

3. water resources;

4. forestry and wildlife.

The minister began his speech with environmental issues.

“The main acute environmental problems are still air quality, surface water pollution, and an imperfect waste management system. According to the results of environmental monitoring, the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Temirtau, Aktobe, Atyrau, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Karaganda, Balkhash, Zhezkazgan, Shymkent are characterized by a high level of air pollution,” Mirzagaliyev noted.

Actual emissions and discharges of pollutants in 2020 are similar to the level of 2019 and amounted to 2.5 million tons, discharges — 1.1 million tons, respectively.

At the moment, the country has accumulated 125 million tons of solid waste. The share of MSW recycling increased from 15% in 2019 to 18.3% in 2020. In addition to the low share of recycling, the inconsistency of solid waste landfills and spontaneous dumps remain acute problems.

In this regard, in order to improve the environmental situation in the regions, on the basis of discussion of environmental problems with residents and eco-activists, 17 Road Maps were approved. The maps provide for measures for further gasification, transfer of public transport to gas fuel, greening of cities, etc. Their implementation will allow to increase the level of waste processing from the current 18% to 30%, build 24 new landfills for solid waste, reclaim and eliminate historically contaminated land, build 7 new and reconstruction of 12 sewage treatment facilities, etc. In general, the country provides for the implementation of 485 measures.

“Following the results of the 1st quarter, we held meetings with the public on the implementation of the Roadmaps. The analysis showed that in the first quarter of this year, 70 measures are envisaged, of which 42 have been completed,” the head of the department added.

To address the issues of increased air pollution in cities, thanks to the participation of the ministry, agreements were reached on reducing emissions of pollutants by a number of companies.

Thus, in Almaty, a decision was made to modernize CHPP-2 and CHPP-3. In the Karaganda region, according to the signed memorandum, ArcelorMittal Temirtau JSC undertakes to reduce air emissions by 30% until 2025, and 500 thousand trees will be planted around the city of Temirtau.

The Zhezkazgan copper smelting plant of Kazakhmys Smelting LLP is planning to build and commission a new sulfuric acid shop. This will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 3 times from 60 to 20 thousand tons.

In the Atyrau region, an oil refinery has begun reclamation of the Tukhlaya Balka evaporation fields.

In the Aktobe region, a ferroalloy plant has launched a project for the modernization and reconstruction of workshops. As a result, emissions will be reduced by 30%.

In the East Kazakhstan region, according to the Kazzinc LLP memorandum, a 20% reduction in atmospheric emissions is expected.

Elimination of the historical pollution of Koshkar-ata has begun in Mangystau region, the completion of which is scheduled for 2025.

In addition, the group of companies NC KazMunayGas has been liquidating historical oil waste in the volume of about 2.5 million cubic meters for several years 437 thousand tons have already been liquidated.

In order to obtain timely and reliable information on the qualitative and quantitative composition of emissions and discharges, the new Environmental Code for Category I facilities provides for a mandatory modernization of industrial environmental monitoring with the transfer of data to the authorized body. The Ministry provides for the synchronization of ACM participants through a universal data transfer format.

“In order to reduce the volume of waste generated, the Law on the implementation of the waste energy utilization mechanism Waste to Energy has been adopted. 6 cities have been identified for the construction of waste incineration plants in the cities of Nur-Sultan, Aktobe, Almaty, Shymkent, Karaganda and Ust-Kamenogorsk. Akimats have allocated land plots for the construction of factories, identified the nearest points of connection to the power grid from the power transmission organization. Acceptance of documents for holding an auction for the formation of a list of energy producing organizations has already begun. We will sum up the results in the second half of the year,” Magzum Mirzagaliyev said.

In addition, the issue of the growing number of unauthorized dumps requires attention. As part of space monitoring, about 8 thousand landfills are detected annually. Akimats are working on their liquidation. At the same time, in order to systematically solve the issue of illegal dumps in the new Ecocode, the issue of the mandatory installation of GPS sensors on waste disposal vehicles has been introduced, licensing has been introduced for enterprises engaged in waste processing and disposal.

The next issue on the agenda of the reporting meeting was related to the development of the geological industry.

The key challenge facing the industry is low reserves replenishment. To date, the ratio of the growth of minerals to the volume of their production for solid minerals is on average 0.13, and for hydrocarbons — 0.9.

Over the past decades, many large deposits of polymetallic ores have been mined. In some areas, there is an annual decline in oil production.

At the same time, there are significant prospects in Kazakhstan for new discoveries both in terms of hydrocarbons and in terms of TPI.

“In this regard, on behalf of the Head of State, we have begun to develop the National Project for the Development of the Geological Industry for 2021-2025. It is envisaged to determine the oil and gas potential of poorly studied sedimentary basins and to study the “deep horizons” within the mining regions,” he stressed.

As the Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources noted, the implementation of the project will increase the knowledge of the territory, assess the predicted mineral resources. In addition to these tasks, this will increase employment of the population in exploration, attract investment and create new jobs in the construction and operation of mining and processing plants. Such results will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the solution of social issues in the regions.

Also, according to Mirzagaliyev, this year the information system National Bank of Mineral Resources will be put into operation. The system will serve as a window for investors by gaining access to an electronic base of geological information and will allow the relationship between government agencies and subsoil users to be digitized. In 2020, a number of business processes were developed, such as: the issuance of exploration / production licenses, the acquisition of geological information, etc., integration with the state database was performed.

The next important area of ​​the economy is water management. The speaker briefly dwelled on the topic of the balance of water resources.

Thus, the water resources of Kazakhstan consist of groundwater reserves and river runoff. The actual indicators of river flow resources in recent years are 90-100 cubic kilometers, of which 50.8 cubic kilometers is local flow, 39.2 cubic kilometers come through transboundary rivers from China, Central Asia and Russia.

In addition, there are confirmed reserves of groundwater in the amount of 15.5 cubic kilometers per year for more than 3.5 thousand deposits. The total water intake is about 25 cubic kilometers. Of these, agriculture accounts for 15 cubic kilometers (65%), industry — 6 cubic kilometers (30%) and utilities — 1 cubic km (5%). Losses during transportation are 3 cubic kilometers.

At present, the situation with water supply in the country meets the requirements of the economic sectors and the population. However, the following main problems of the water industry can be identified.

First, 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.

Second, high water losses during transportation due to critical wear of canals and irrigation systems. In particular, in agriculture, losses reach 50%. To reduce them, the repair of canals and the introduction of automated water resources management are required.

Third, a weak tariff setting mechanism, a lack of investment in infrastructure and a shortage of qualified personnel.

“We are faced with the tasks of maintaining water balance, construction of new irrigation systems to increase irrigated land from 1.6 to 3.0 million hectares, modernization and reconstruction of water infrastructure, digitalization, water conservation, staffing, etc. 40% of the water flows through transboundary rivers from China, Central Asia and Russia. We are now in a low water cycle. In this regard, in order to carry out the growing season, we carry out targeted work with neighbors. So, we agreed with the Kyrgyz side on additional water discharge. At the peak of the growing season (June-August), an additional 330 million cubic meters of water will be discharged from the Toktogul reservoir,” the head of the environmental department added.

Agreements were reached on the passage of this volume of water through the territory of Uzbekistan. Also, together with the Tajik and Uzbek sides, agreements are being held on the operating mode of the Bahri Tojik reservoir.

Taking this into account, in February-March, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, meetings were held with visits to the regions in order to inform about the current water situation and recommendations to reduce the sowing of water-intensive crops and prepare for the growing season in low water conditions.

Also, one of the main tasks of the ministry is to fulfill the instructions of the Head of State to increase the area of ​​irrigated land to 3 million hectares from the current 1.6 million hectares until 2030.

In 2020, 813 km of canals were repaired, 53.5 thousand hectares of irrigated land were put into circulation. This will make it possible to additionally create 26 thousand jobs and increase the volume of agricultural products in the amount of more than 30 billion tenge annually.

“In 2021, the area of ​​irrigated land will increase by 78 thousand hectares. By 2025, it is planned to increase the area of ​​irrigated land to 2.2 million hectares, i.e. increase by 600 thousand hectares. Over the next 5 years, we plan to reconstruct more than 4.5 thousand km of canals. This will contribute to the creation of 120 thousand jobs in the countryside and the cultivation of products worth 510 billion tenge annually,” the minister said.

In addition, it is planned to restore 41 emergency reservoirs, of which in the period from 2017-2019. 10 objects were commissioned, and 2 were completed in 2020. In 2021, it is planned to complete another 8 objects. The remaining 21 objects will be completed by 2025.

It is also planned to build 39 new reservoirs in nine regions with a total volume of 3.6 billion cubic meters per year. This year, the construction of the Kensai-Koskorgan reservoir in the Turkistan region is being completed.

The construction of reservoirs will reduce the threat of flood events for 70 settlements, bring into circulation 394 thousand hectares of new irrigated land, create more than 129 thousand jobs in agriculture; remove dependence on water volumes of transboundary rivers: up to 30% — Kyrgyzstan, up to 25% — Uzbekistan, up to 15% — Russian Federation.

In order to fulfill the instructions of the Head of State on water accounting, a pilot project was implemented in 2020 to digitize the K-19 main canal with a length of 12 km in the Maktaaral district of the Turkestan region. Due to the digitization of the canal, it was found that water is consumed by 45% more than the irrigation rates. 16 channels will be digitized this year. Over the next 5 years, there are plans to digitize 119 channels with a length of more than 2.8 thousand km. The implementation of these measures will save up to 2 cubic kilometers.

In terms of bringing drinking water to settlements, 14 projects for the construction of group water pipelines were carried out in 2020, of which 3 were completed.

As a result, 343 km of networks were built, water supply was provided and improved in 15 SNPs and in 1 city with a population of 124.5 thousand people in Almaty, Kyzylorda and West Kazakhstan regions.

This year, it is planned to complete and put into operation 8 projects with a length of 845 km. Water supply will be provided and improved for 61 RSs with 203 thousand residents of Akmola, Aktobe, Karaganda, Kyzylorda and North Kazakhstan regions.

Mirzagaliyev noted that over two years of work, the department has commissioned 5 out of 10 long-term construction projects, this year 3 more will be completed and in 2022 the remaining 2 long-term construction projects will be commissioned.

It was also briefly said about the improvement of water legislation. As the analysis of the current Water Code has shown, since 2003 the Code has undergone 68% changes and additions. It is mainly focused on the economic use of water. In this regard, the ministry is working on the development of a concept for a new Water Code. The head of the Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted that the directions for preserving the country's water resource potential and managing water demand should be strengthened.

In order to provide staffing in 2020, the Institute of Water Management was opened at the Taraz State University named after I. M. H. Dulati. In order to improve the qualifications of specialists in the field of water management, two centers were opened in 2021. One in the North Kazakhstan region, and the other in Almaty at KazNAU. In 2021, it is planned to train 800 people in total.

Turning to the issues of forestry and wildlife, the Minister of Ecology noted that at the initiative of the Head of State, 2 billion trees will be planted in the republic. For this purpose, the Comprehensive Plans for all regions and subordinate institutions of the ministry have been approved. The plans provide for expenditures both from the Republican budget and from local budgets. The Headquarters for the coordination of actions of forestry and environmental institutions was created. The planting work has already begun. Already planted 80.5 million trees on an area of ​​26.1 thousand hectares. These measures will make it possible to bring the country's forest cover to 5% by 2030.

“A separate issue is the planting of saxaul on the drained bottom of the Aral Sea. From 1990 to 2021, saxaul was planted on an area of ​​195 thousand hectares (9%). A few weeks ago, an expedition was sent out. The revision of the existing plantings was carried out. Taking into account the natural origin, the area is 337 thousand hectares. On behalf of the Head of State, we are developing a comprehensive program for planting saxaul. In 2021-2030, it is planned to plant saxaul on an area of ​​1.1 million hectares,” Mirzagaliyev said.

In order to increase responsibility for illegal felling, destruction and damage of trees, amendments and additions to the current legislation were initiated in terms of increasing fines and toughening sanctions against violators.

Thus, the amount of compensation for damage has been increased from 6 to 1,000 MCI for each illegally felled tree listed in the Red Book. In addition, amendments were made to the Administrative and Criminal Codes in terms of increasing fines and toughening sanctions against violators for illegal felling, destruction and damage of trees and bushes in the forest fund and within cities and towns.

Also, in order to legislatively streamline all issues on the protection, reproduction and use of flora resources, the Draft Law "On the flora" has been developed, which is being considered in the Majilis.

Further, in accordance with the instructions of the Head of State, the ministry is working on the development of ecological tourism. In this regard, master plans are being developed taking into account public opinion. Public councils have been created at the national parks. Investors have been identified for 4 large national parks of the Almaty region.

- for GNPP Kulsay kulderi — LLP Atyrau-Rent;

- for SNPP Charyn — RPO QazaqGeography;

- for SNPP Altyn-Emel — RPO Qazaq Geografy;

- for GNPP Ile-Alatau — LLP Turanga Group.

In the national parks of the Almaty region, it is planned to build 11 modern visit centers, 5 eco-hotels, 28 glampings, 8 campings, 4 ethno-auls, etc., which will attract a total of 31.5 billion tenge of private investment. The expected flow of tourists, taking into account the norms of the recreational load of national parks, will be more than 2 million people.

Currently, the construction of the necessary infrastructure has begun in 3 SNPP. The Ayusai Visitor Center has been opened in the Ile-Alatau National Park, trails around the visitor center have been arranged, a bridge has been built across the river for the convenience of tourists, and volunteers are conducting training in eco-culture.

Also, the head of the environmental department appealed to the population with a request to take care of the country's unique natural resources, not to throw garbage, not to light fires in the wrong places.

“In the reporting year, measures were taken to preserve the animal world. At the same time, the facts of poaching do not stop. In this regard, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an environmental action "Saiga" was launched, within the framework of which preventive measures were intensified, the activities of a number of criminal groups specializing in poaching saigas and other wild animals were suppressed. We have extended the ban on the use of saigas, their parts and derivatives throughout Kazakhstan until 2023. A pilot project Smart patrolling has been launched using UAVs, video recorders and video tokens,” the minister added.

In order to eradicate the more frequent facts of the barbaric attitude towards animals, with the support of deputies, animal rights activists, a draft Law on the Protection of Animals has been developed. The bill contains the basic norms of a responsible attitude towards animals. At the same time, liability for cruelty to animals or any violations will be provided for in the accompanying law.

Certain work has also been carried out in the field of development of fisheries. So, at the government level, the Fisheries Development Program until 2030 was approved. Work has been done to improve the current legislation.

“Along with the work of a strategic nature, operational work was carried out to preserve the natural population of fish resources. I would like to emphasize that last year the Caspian seal was included in the List of Red Data Book species of animals. Taking into account that the main habitat of the Caspian seal is located in the zone of territorial waters of Kazakhstan and Russia, since 2020 our scientists have begun joint five-year research,” summed up Mirzagaliyev.

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