Environmental Challenges in Ukraine
Olena Kravchenko visited Eugene this week. Olena is the Executive Director of Environment-People-Law, Ukraine's leading public interest environmental law organization. ELAW has worked with EPL for many years to conserve biodiversity, protect forests, and hold polluters accountable.
"The environment in eastern Ukraine was suffering long before last year's outbreak of hostilities, but the war is posing new challenges," says Olena.
Donetsk and Luhansk, the industrial heart of Ukraine, are plagued by air and water pollution from iron and steelworks as well as coal mines and coke plant operations. Artillery shelling has resulted in fires at coke plants, an oil refinery, a chemical plant, and electricity substations, volatilizing dangerous chemicals and jeopardizing farmland and forests.
EPL is working to document and shed light on the region's environmental and human rights violations, to move beyond the crisis.
EPL also continues its work in western Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains to protect pristine rivers from aggressive plans for small-scale hydropower plants. Heidi Weiskel, ELAW Staff Scientist, will travel to Ukraine this summer and join EPL staff to tour proposed project sites and discuss the ecological impacts of funneling rivers into large pipes. They will meet with affected communities, assess the cumulative impacts of the multiple projects, and develop strategies to protect communities and the environment.
Many thanks to the Trust for Mutual Understanding for supporting Heidi's work in Ukraine. We will keep you informed of our progress.
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide