Grigulevich N.I.  

Environmental challenges in small Russian towns at the beginning of the XXI century.

ABSTRACT: It is expected that in small towns (with a population of no more than 50 thousand people), which are surrounded by large forests and fields, the environment should be much better than in megacities. This is far from the case. Forest areas are declining due to fires and pest attacks. Garbage collection is an urgent problem. Residents and entrepreneurs often prefer to take it to ravines and forests to save money. There is unauthorized development of river banks. Moreover, all untreated effluents enter the rivers. This work touches on some environmental problems of small towns Staritsa (Tver) and Belev (Tula region). The Belev, as well as a significant part of the Tula region, is included in the so-called Chernobyl zone. Residents of Staritsa suffer from poor-quality drinking water. The main environmental problem in these towns is outdated and practically no longer functioning wastewater treatment plants. Untreated industrial, agricultural and domestic wastewaters enter the Oka and Volga, causing their chemical pollution. Valuable fish species (stellate sturgeon, Russian sturgeon, sterlet) that these rivers were famous for became extinct. The federal program "Restore the Volga, 2017-2025." provides the territories included in it with the opportunity to build new treatment facilities in the upper reaches of the Oka and Volga. Given the successful implementation of this Project, the ecology in the small towns of the Center of Russia will significantly improve. This will improve the quality of life of residents, and will also contribute to the greater attractiveness of these territories for home and foreign tourists.

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