Subsoil Exploitation at Expense of Agricultural Land Areas

grasslands-los-pozos-6x4According to “Ecolur” Informational NGO, a press conference was held at “Ecolur” Press Club on 29 May, where Ashot Vardevanyan, National Coordinator of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Deputy Head of Department for Managing Bio-resources of Nature Protection Ministry, said that In 2002-2014 around 800 million people didn’t have sufficient food.

“The UN declared June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Soils and soil conservation have a primary role in food safety,” Ashot Vardevanyan said.

He mentioned that on 27 May the government with its protocol decision approved new governmental resolution, strategy and national action plan to combat desertification in Armenia, which complies with ten-year-long strategy issues of the Convention to Combat Desertification.

Referring to the positive and negative tendencies Ashot Vardevanyan noted, “The positive side is that specially protected areas of nature have expanded by 102,400 ha and perennial planters have increased by around 4500 ha within 7 years. The negative side is that meadow lands have reduced by 5.800 ha, plough lands – 4.600 ha, pastures – 64.100 ha. The most dangerous and painful thing is that mining and soil management land areas are expanding:  1460 ha in 2013-2014 and this figure is related with agricultural land areas, which is a very negative tendency…Tailing dumps occupy 1500 ha, which is rather a large number…One ha of open pit mines and tailing dumps pollute around 10 ha of surrounding area. We should not develop a mine for such a long time period. Unlike other natural resources, soil is an irrecoverable resource.”

“We should pay special attention to fertile land areas: 80% of our agricultural land areas subject to cultivation need irrigation, but only 50% is irrigated, the other 30% depends on the will of the God – either there will be good harvest or not,” said Ashot Vardevanyan.

As to Karine Danielyan, Chairman of “For Sustainable Human Development” Association, our country has a serious problem with both utility and industrial waste. She gave a positive assessment of the government’s decision, with regard to the recycling of the Tailing Dumps.

She also mentioned that during the discussions on Waste disoutes have passed between the Ministries, because every Ministry has a little function. “There is no link between that system to coordinate all that, and they are throwing the responsibility on each other. As a result, we have this situation in our country, “said Karine Danielyan, noting that there is a serious institutional problem.

The speaker mentioned if in the former millennium one out of 8 goals was environmental, in case of sustainable development 9 out of 17 goals are environmental, while the others relate to environment in this or that manner.

“This shows in what condition our planet is and how much concerned the international expert community is,” concluded Karine Danielyan.

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