Azerbaijani minister repeats pollution charge against Armenia

Wed 07 Sep 2011 02:35 GMT | 06:35 Local Time

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Ecology Minister Huseyngulu Bagirov has again accused Armenia of deliberately polluting rivers that rise in its territory and flow through Azerbaijan.

He told the 11th international forum in Gabala on the disposal of pesticides that Georgia also polluted the rivers but did not do so deliberately.

"The Kur, Araz and Samur rivers all rise outside Azerbaijan, and therefore we cannot control the quality of the water in these rivers," Bagirov said.

"They are mainly polluted by our neighbours. For example, industrial waste is discharged into the Kur River in friendly Georgia. We understand that Georgia does not yet have the capacity to purify the river. But, unlike Georgia, Armenia deliberately pollutes the rivers, which flow to Azerbaijan from its territory. As a result, we face serious problems and have installed modular cleaning stations in the villages."

Oil clean-up

Bagirov went on to say that Azerbaijan was still tackling environmental problems inherited from the Soviet era.

"Oil used to be produced in Azerbaijan using the most basic industrial methods and as a result some 35,000 hectares of land on the Absheron Peninsula were polluted with oil products and now need cleaning up," the minister said.

"Hundreds of hectares of land on the peninsula are cleaned up every year. Three or four years ago you could see oil-polluted land from the main road into town from the airport, but now that land has been cleaned up. Work has almost finished there and 100,000 trees have been planted."

The forum on the safe use of pesticides is attended by over 120 experts, donors, government and non-governmental organizations, scientists and entrepreneurs from 40 countries.

The forum is supported by the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and the International HCH and Pesticides Association, the Czech-based RECETOX (Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment) and Masaryk University and the German Agency for the Environment (UBA).



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