How to make rivers clean? North-West russian NGOs look for solutions

Inter-regional seminar "Methods of ecological investigations and improvement of environmental situation in the river basins. Role of NGOs" was hold by Friends of the Baltic NGO with the support of Coalition Clean Baltic" January 13-14 , 2006 in Lomonosov-Petrodvorets.

This seminar united representatives of local groups and NGOs of St.Petersburgh, Leningrad region, Novgorod and Vologda regions and Karelia, which work for river watch and nature protection in the river basins/ Also scientists and representatives of local authorities took part in the seminar.

Participants shared their troubles on environmental problems, which they worry about: waste water from housing sector and industrial enterprises, illegal dump sites, planning and building new objects without EIA.


River basin - means the area of land from which all surface run off-flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta. Basin approach needs coordinated activities of administrative bodies of neighbour areas, which have impact to the river basin and river ecosystem. Environmental state of the river often form living condition (drink water, fishing, recreation, etc) and affects interests of local people. Therefore public participation in the decision making connected with river ecosystem is necessary.

In the new Russian water Code, which was preliminarily adopted by Stae Duma in April 2005, public participation and basin approach are only declared. No any regulation for these issues. The principle for financing water protection measures is not regulated, only payments for using water resources are taken in consideration. No any paragraphs, motivating to apply waste water treatment, decrease water pollution. Power of local/municipal and regional authorities for water management is not defined at all. Friends of the Baltic prepared comments for Water Code in spring 205 together with other Russian NGOs. These comments were not taken into consideration by State Duma.


Friends of the Baltic has prepared and seminar participants have supported new statement to the State Duma and Russian Government, which includes main comments to Water Code and request to make legal NGO Environmental Impact Assessment of Water Code, made by Russian river Network.

Seminar participants shared their experience in public monitoring and protection of rivers а Karasta, Strelka, Slavyanka, Svir', Shogrash, Volkhov and others. Hydro biological laboratory Efa presented the most accessible methods for biological investigations of river quality.

Center for Environmental Initiatives presented Map of Baltic River Basins, published in 2005.

Important part of the seminar was workshop, devoted to the design of inter-sectoral Program for river basin development. Aim of the workshop was to find the most effective forms for NGO activity and interaction with other actors fro improvement environmental situation in the river basin. Plan, made by workshop participants included inventing of river pollution and pollutors, making Ecological passport of the river, establishing Council of river basin, design of course of nature protection measures, creating comfortable conditions for environmentally friendly business, educational and public awareness activities etc.
This model will help local NGOs to create their local action plan and relationship with authorities an other interested organizations.

At the seminar participants have discussed prospects for the further development of NW Russian River network, interaction with other networks and organizations. Special importance is information and methodical exchange\he with CCB River network and Russian River network.

Participants confirmed their intention to perform action "Green coast - clean wave" as a course of local actions for river protection in Spring-Summer.

For more information , please, contact
Olga Senova and
Galina Kulikova:

Yandex citirovania