According to the World Air Quality, Nur-Sultan gets into the category of the most gas-polluted and dangerous to health cities of the world from time to time.
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Thus, in the morning of January 5, the atmosphere of the capital of Kazakhstan was recorded to contain serious excess of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. According to the source, the concentration of particulate matter in the air was 185 micrograms per cubic metre. However, this standard in large cities must not exceed 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
Dark smoke over the city, dense fog and respiratory diseases have become the current reality of the residents of Nur-Sultan. Once the heating season begins or in case of windless weather, city residents suffocate from dirty air.
Aigul Mamyrova moved to the capital city from Kostanai in 2008 – she fell in love with the city and stayed to live there. But one or one and a half year ago, she started having health issues – persistent headache, hypertension, as well as drowsiness and chronic fatigue.
«I’ve noticed that once I go to my hometown, all my health issues disappear. Now I came to understand that the reason for my distress was simply poor air quality. […] If it continues to be like this, I will have to leave the city for ever,» said Mamyrova.
According to independent ecologist Ermek Mozhanov, vehicle emissions mostly contribute to air pollution in the city. They amount to 55 per cent, while city power stations contribute to another 25 per cent, and private housing with furnace heating amount to the rest 20 per cent.
Ecologists have serious claims against the latter. According to them, people buy poor quality coal, and also burn household waste for cost reasons.
The Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan has tried to solve this issue by provision of gas supply. Recently, the head of the agency Magzum Mirzagaliev said at the online briefing that Nur-Sultan is going to solve the smog issue.
«It is possible to remove smog and I believe we can remove it. For this purpose, we have already carried out all preparatory works. We have installed the «Saryarka» gas line. Currently, we have already started to connect houses to the gas supply in the city,» said the minister during the briefing.
According to him, Nur-Sultan already has over 300 kilometres of installed distribution pipes and nearly 1,000 specifications issued. Soon, he said, gas will be supplied to houses.
«Today, we have already connected 300 houses. Several thousand more households have applied for gas supply. It should be noted that many residents have already bought coal, so they are reluctant to shift to gas. They are asking for a favour to use the coal they have bought,» the head of the ministry of ecology said.
Meanwhile, according to him, the power station is being switched to gas supply: four boilers have been already converted to gas supply. This year, the remaining boilers will be converted, too.
Earlier, the akim of Nur-Sultan, Altai Kulginov, said about the ecology, air pollution and gas supplies to the city.
«Power station 1 and power station 2 use 3 million 800 thousand tonnes of coal and the private housing use 500 thousand tonnes of coal in winter. We burn nearly 4.5 million tonnes of coal. In other words, we emit 40 thousand tonnes of hazardous substances into the air. This is the air we breathe. Their number is increasing exponentially. This is what we must think about. Gas supply will reduce the load and environmental pollution index,» said akim at the meeting with the people (as quoted by Tengrinews.kz).
Meanwhile, the residents of the capital of Kazakhstan have to live with smog. In addition to obvious recommendations – shift to public transportation or transfer from coal to gas heating – urban dwellers need to observe elementary protection measures to reduce health risks. On very dirty days, people must use masks, respirators intended for protection from dust, smog, carbon monoxide. In case of dense smog or fog, all windows must be closed to prevent smoke from penetrating inside the premises.
Данный материал подготовлен в рамках проекта IWPR «Giving Voice, Driving Change — from the Borderland to the Steppes Project».