Greenline, environmental group, slams Russia for environmental practices and lax enforcement
NEW YORK, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Greenline, a New York, NY-based non-profit environmental group, deplored Russia’s questionable environmental practices, which, according to the group’s spokesman Anthony Gould, are damaging the local environment, hurting the health of its people, and effectively locking the country’s producers out of the global food market.
“At a time when the world is facing food shortages because of a severe drought in the US Midwest and in other regions around the globe, any additional sources of food would be welcome to help keep the prices down and avoid famine,” the spokesman said. “However, heavy use of pesticides with little or no regulation, and growing cash crops in regions contaminated by radioactive fallout, from Chernobyl, and possibly other, less publicized nuclear incidents, are likely to keep Russian produce off most international markets. The nation should clean up its act, and regulators should step up the efforts to protect its people from harmful chemicals in their food, and help its producers to benefit from strong agricultural markets.”
In a recent incident reported by the media, Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev’s National Soil Company was caught red-handed when its subsidiary Maxim Gorky LLC’s crop-dusting planes veered from the company’s potato fields in Tula Region, spraying chemicals and powerful pesticides over individuals’ homes and private vegetable patches. An inquiry by the local prosecutor’s office revealed a number of problems with the crop-dusting operation: not only were the company’s potato fields too close to private homes, the company never obtained the permits for aerial crop-dusting.
According to Russian newswire Rusnovosti, to complicate matters, Maxim Gorky LLC was growing its cash crop sold at major retail chains nationwide in an area severely contaminated by Cesium-137 from Chernobyl nuclear fallout.
National Soil Company is a major Russian producer of wheat, potatoes, vegetables, milk and meat, with farms in central Russia. The key markets for Russian potatoes is Azerbaijan, with smaller quantities also exported to Georgia (the country), Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
Greenline has called upon the Russian authorities and environmental regulators to tighten their enforcement of regulations and step up the efforts to stop contaminated produce at the border.