Russia to cut funding for air quality and environmental projects in 2024 budget



Russia plans to cut funding for several national environmental programs in the 2024 budget, business daily Vedomosti reported. report.

According to the draft federal budget for 2024-2026, funding for the Clean Air Federal Project, which aims to reduce air pollution in dozens of industrial cities, will be cut by almost half by 6 billion rubles ($62 million). Vedomosti reported.

The Clean Countries Federal Project, which aims to eliminate hazardous waste sites, is expected to see funding cut by almost 30%. Other programs will see more modest cuts, such as a 12% cut in the national revitalization budget. Volga federal project.

While Russia increases its budget allocation, army and “patriotic education,” The tightening of the environmental belt is causing concern, given its potential impact on the already problematic ecological situation in many Russian cities.

“With such a reduction in funding, some may wonder how the goals set by the president to reduce air pollution levels will be achieved.” According to Vedomosti news agency, Dmitry of the State Duma Environment Committee・Chairman Kobylkin reportedly told his colleagues:

A spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources told Vedomosti that the ministry’s assessment found no risk that the clean air project would fail to meet its goals.

The representative said implementation of the plan was ahead of schedule and the cumulative amount of toxic pollutants had already been reduced by 11% compared to the target of 8%. Additionally, project spending is expected to increase in 2025 and 2026.

The Clean Air Project has positive aspects, such as the establishment of more than 100 new air quality monitoring stations in the country and the fact that a significant portion of its planned activities will truly lead to reductions in air pollutant emissions. said veteran environmental expert Ivan. Blokov told the Moscow Times.

At the same time, the project remains problematic in other areas, such as the lack of separate targets for different air pollutants.

“The project itself is very strangely formulated, since the aim is to significantly reduce the mass of emissions as a whole,” Brokoff said. “This does not allow us to assess how much less harmful environmental conditions have become for people living in cities, since the negative effects of one kilogram of dioxin emissions can be comparable.” [on human health] Up to 1 billion kilograms of nitrogen dioxide. ”

Brokoff noted that the accuracy of the 11% emissions reduction claimed by the Department of Natural Resources is difficult because it depends on the base year used for comparison. According to the state statistical office Rosstat, emissions into the atmosphere actually increased in 2022 compared to 2018 levels.

“In Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, which are among the most polluted cities in the country, the situation is slightly worse. For one or two substances, the concentration of pollutants in the air has increased, but for others “There are no major changes in the substance,” Brokoff said.

” [financial] … Resources will definitely deteriorate and lead to a reduction in the number of activities carried out under this project. “However, it is highly questionable whether this will have a significant impact on the environment,” he concluded.

The Clean Air Federal Project aims to reduce air pollutant emissions by at least 20% by 2024 in 12 major Russian industrial centers, including Krasnoyarsk, Magnitogorsk, Novokuznetsk, Norilsk and Chelyabinsk. ing.

Starting in September, the program will also target 29 cities with high levels of air pollution, with the aim of halving their toxic emissions by 2030.

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