War is also an environmental disaster. Thousands of tonnes of garbage caused by the bombing of buildings are taken elsewhere by utility workers who don’t know how to dispose of it. About a third of all nature reserve sites are under occupation, and those that have been liberated look half destroyed or even worse. The de-occupied communities are left alone face to face with destroyed factories, mined fields, and poisoned rivers. The state does not have enough knowledge, laboratories, or technologies to assess the damage, the expected consequences, and the necessary restoration.
But do we really care about the environment when rebuilding the country? Scientists, experts, and civic activists say yes, it is an essential part of the reconstruction strategy. European officials make it criteria for joining the EU. Meanwhile, the government's declarations of an "environmental approach" at international conferences are completely disregarded upon arrival home. Legislators, the executive branch, and business are trying to block the existing environmental requirements "for the duration of martial law".
What can we do about it? How can we respect the human right to a clean environment even during war?
Ruslan Havryliuk, Ph.D. holder in Geology, head of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, national coordinator of the Ukrainian Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum;
Nadia Shevchenko, activist of the Green Dossier Information Centre.
Moderator:Dmytro Ivanov, journalist, member of the Board of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine.