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Environmental safety of defense activity and military-industrial complex conversion

According to the 1998 Inspection Plan on the Ensuring Environmental and Radiation Safety in the Military Forces system, respected bodies of the Defense Ministry have inspected environmental state of the Defense Ministry objects. 130 military bases, establishments, organizations and enterprises related to the defense activity were the subject of this inspection. Local authorities of the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine participated in the inspection of nearly 15 per cent of the objects.

Analyses of the environmental state of the military bodies resulted in conclusion that, since 1997, there is a clear tendency of improving environmental activity in the military sector. It was promoted by top level officers of the Defense Ministry and military corps due to issuing the range of institutional and summarizing orders and directives as well as establishment cooperative interaction between the bodies of the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety and the Defense Ministry at national and local levels. Some efforts have been undertaken in the field of education and information of the military personnel. It is aimed at responsibility formation for the complains with provisions of national environmental legislation being into force. For these purposes the guidance “Environmental Protection in the Military Forces of Ukraine” was prepared published and disseminated within military corps and meeting of senior officers from Environmental Safety Services within the Defense Ministry infrastructure was organized.

Goals of environmental safety were quite successfully achieved during implementation of the Programs of rackets-nuclear disarmament and utilization of the obsolete ammunition which can not be used and stored any more. State Program on the environmentally friendly utilization of high toxic components of racket fuel has been elaborated. Environmental provisions of the implementation of the Program on the ensuring of safety of arsenals, bases and storehouses for weapons, rackets and ammunitions of the Ukraine Military Forces for 1995-2015 (approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, Decree N 472 of 28/06/1995) are recognized as of high importance.

At the same time, Military Forces faced with long-term considerable environmental problems which still can not be resolved first of all because of the mechanism of targeted financial support of environmental activity has not been established. Military corps, as representatives of budgetary sector, have no resources to cover necessary payments for the pollutants discharge, natural resources usage namely special water consumption, communal waste storage, renewal of the land use rights etc. It is resulted in permanent violation of the national environmental legislation by the Military Forces. For example, in 1998 the local authorities of the MEPNS subjected 16 military corps with fine sanctions for pollution emission without having permits. Sum of fines – 113 thousand of Hryvnias – was not paid. Budget of the Defense Ministry for 1999 has no line at all for environmental protection measures.

That is why, since the beginning of the 90th environmental state of the most of military storehouses and bases of oil-fuel materials need to be improved and requires comprehensive actions. No steps are undertaken to complete inventory, quality assessment of the potential of the defense infrastructure for the use and storage of the oil-fuel materials, to elaborate the plan for step-by-step remediation, repair and renewal of the military objects, as well as implementation of the environmental protection measures and introduction of the clean technologies and modern equipment. Due to this reason, environment is threatened with harmful impact of the military garrisons and bases, especially in Artsyz, Mariupol, Poltava, Sebastopol, Cherliany, Pryluki, Ozerne, Kivertsi and this threat has tendency to be increased. Until now there remain unsolved the problems of rehabilitation of contaminated military sites and objects, environmentally friendly maintenance of the systems supporting life activity of the military bases such as heating, water supply and sewerage systems, waste treatment and storage etc.

Dividing the Black Sea Fleet between two Republics of former Soviet Union caused many problems related to the responsibility and adequate control of environmental state of the objects of Russian Federation Fleet, which are temporary localized on the territory of Ukraine, and to the complains with Ukrainian environmental legislation. At the same time, positive negotiation of leaders of central and local authorities of the MEPNS with Command of the RF Fleet resulted in signing the special Agreement between Governments of Ukraine and Russian Federation in this field. Hopefully, establishment of the legislative framework for cooperative actions will lead to the improving environmental condition of both RF Fleet objects and overall city Sebastopol and surrounding area.

In general, most of the environmental concerns within the defense sector activity can not be managed and resolved without adequate mechanism of financial support from the state and local budgets. It was emphasized in National reports since 1992 but till now measures undertaken have particular, non-system character and aimed first of all at liquidation of the consequences of environmental disasters, taken place in the defense sector, but not at preventive actions.

Defense Ministry of Ukraine considers that improving the environmental conditions on the military bases and objects, decreasing the pollution emission into the atmosphere and hydrosphere as well as contamination of land resources, prevention of emergency situation arising from the military activities and other negative impact on environmental and human health could be achieved under condition of the relevant financial provisions from state and local budgets and consolidation of efforts of stakeholders concerned including central governmental bodies, their local authorities, local administrations etc. Investments will be required both for environmental assessment, monitoring, forecasting the processes development and for policy formulation and implementation.


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