General Public Should Be Involved in Addressing Environmental Challenges

Problem of pollution may turn into a social and ecological conflict if the necessary steps are not taken in a timely manner, the head of the Ecology Working Group of the Expert Council under the Russian government, a member of the Public Council under the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Rashid Ismailov said, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza.

He clarified that an ecological conflict occurs when the population does not see the authorities’ intention to address environmental challenges. “When people refer to formal structures, but they are sent to other structures, as a result they cannot obtain information about  local conditions of air and water, it causes an ecological conflict,” the expert explained.

Ismailov noted that an integrated approach is needed to resolve such a conflict. To this end, the Ministry of Natural Resources publishes information on the environmental situation in the regions in open access. “Thanks to this, any governor has access to this information, reports on the environmental situation in the region are put on his table every morning. And we hope that they will pay attention to these problems,” the ecologist said, adding that the Ministry of Natural Resources is actively involved in this process, informing the leadership of the regions about the existing problems.

“Such conflicts should be resolved, because otherwise it will impair the image of governors. We also inform the controlling bodies, including the presidential administration, which in its turn assesses the effectiveness of the regional leaders,” Ismailov said.

He also drew attention to the need to involve civil institutions and the public in addressing environmental challenges.

“In this issue, it is necessary to assist the authorities, because we all need it to address environmental problems and conflicts. And, most importantly, the most important thing is to influence the improvement of our life and the ecological well-being of the population,” the expert concluded, adding that today more than 50% of experts assess the environmental situation in Russia as negative.