THE CREATION OF THE PUBLIC ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION “SAVING TAMAN!”
On August 3, 2007, a meeting was held in the village of Volna (Temryuk District, Krasnodar Territory, Taman Peninsula) at which members of the Temryuk public, concerned about the environment, created the district public environmental organization “Saving Taman!”.
The large number of environmental threats hanging over the Temryuk District prompted the need for such an organization. In this region, which previously prided itself on its environmental purity, is currently suffering from a seriously deteriorating environmental situation. In one of the District’s population points – the village of Chushka – the situation has become catastrophic as a result of oil and chemical terminals. The village residents are living in unbearable conditions and the water of the Kerch Strait and the Taman Bay is in a critical state of pollution. Similar situations may be replicated in other areas of the district – on both land and water. In addition to the many environmentally dangerous objects that already exist or are under construction, new projects are being developed on a continual basis, further threatening the preservation of this favorable environment, its natural and cultural/historical treasures, and the unique biological diversity of the Temryuk District. These projects include new oil, gas and chemical terminals, and reservoirs, oil pipelines, oil wells and roads through treasured natural areas.
The danger of Temryuk District being transformed into an ecologically contaminated industrial zone is so great that the time has come to talk about the need to save Taman – a land that is truly unique in both natural and historical contexts. The development trend currently dominating the District not only threatens to destroy the health of its residents’ habitat, it also destroys the District’s possibility for sustainable development as a resort/recreational and agricultural region. It is no accident that, following heated discussion as to the name of the organization, from the few options put to a vote, an absolute majority established the name “Saving Taman!”
The overall opinion of the meeting participants was expressed by the Chairman of the Commission on Ecology of the Temryuk City Council, Deputy Vadim Novopashin: “We are very late in establishing such an organization. It should have been created long ago. The tendency towards negative influences on our peninsula is increasing with each day and is leading to very serious consequences. And it is very important that this organization is not only an environmental organization, but also a human rights organization. The people must stand up for the environment so that there are no more injured people in Chushka, Volna and other villages. Moreover, the organization should serve as an information center so that people will know what is happening on this land. The participation of this organization in public hearings on environmentally dangerous projects is very important. I think that this is exactly the right moment to once more raise our voices in defense of Taman. The creation of such an organization makes it possible to positively influence all resulting processes. But it is necessary to be prepared for the fact that the work of this organization will be extremely complicated.”
At the meeting, twenty people expressed their desire to become members of the public organization “Saving Taman!”, among whom are a Deputy of the Temryuk District Council, three Deputies of the Temryuk City Council, four Deputies of the Council of Taman Village, and the Chair of the Territorial Public Self-Government of the Taman Municipality. The decision was made to create both Taman-Volna and Temryuk branches of the organization, as well as sections in the villages of Chushka and Strelka. Igor Golubenkov (Taman) and Alla Nikonorova (Temryuk) were selected as the Co-Chairs of the organization.
By the following day, August 4th, an additional twelve people had expressed the desire to become members of the organization, including another two Deputies of the Temryuk District Council.
The public environmental meeting in the village of Volna took place with the assistance of the international environmental NGO “Crude Accountability” and the “Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus”, the heads of which – Kate Watters and Andrey Rudomakha, respectively, also joined “Saving Taman!”.
The creation of this Temryuk District public environmental organization calls upon us to mobilize the efforts of the local public in defense of the environment, and to elevate public environmental activity in the District to a fundamentally new level. The new organization intends to collaborate actively with state and municipal bodies on issues connected to ensuring environmental safety, and to conduct constructive dialogue with the companies whose projects pose threats to the environment.
The formation of “Saving Taman!” holds great significance for the protection of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. During a prolonged period there has not been a local, public environmental organization in this important Black Sea region of Russia. This gap has now been filled, and the public of Taman intends to contribute actively to international efforts to protect the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
by Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus
Translated by Crude Accountability