Tuesday, July 9 2019 12:28
Alexandr Avanesov

Minister: The state will allocate funds for cleaning up Lake Sevan

Minister: The state will allocate funds for cleaning up Lake Sevan

ArmInfo.The state will allocate funds for cleaning up Lake Sevan.  The Minister of Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan said this on July 9 at National Assembly of  the Republic of Armenia commenting on the waterlogging of the lake.

According to the Minister, the lake's currently observed waterlogging  occurs for several reasons, primarily with the discharge of sewage  and harmful substances from human activity, in particular, with  emissions from local restaurants and cafes. Increasing the level of  the lake leads to the drowning of some nearby territories, including  trees and shrubs, which in the process of decay also create certain  problems for the lake. Yesterday samples of lake waters were sent to  the National Academy of Sciences. At present, using the Japanese  equipment, studies are being conducted on the state of the lake,  which will provide answers to many questions.

Erik Grigoryan believes that the level of Sevan should not be  lowered, on the contrary, it must be raised.  "Work to increase the  water level in Lake Sevan should be carried out as quickly as  possible. If previously, the cleaning works affected 80 or 100  hectares per year, now, with the participation of the Prime  Minister's staff, the cleaning works will take place both this year  and the next two years and will affect 770 hectares, "the minister  assured, adding that at present, annual water withdrawals from the  lake, as a rule, are 20 million cubic meters less than that provided  for by the Sevan flora and fauna restoration program.

Earlier, the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia provided  information on the ecological status of Lake Sevan and the steps  taken in connection with the threat of waterlogging of the lake. The  message of the Ministry, in particular, states: ''Recently, the  growth of blue-green algae of the genus Anabaena has been observed in  Lake Sevan. These algae in the lake were first seen in the 1940s and  the first flowering was recorded in 1964 and repeated in different  volumes in other years, including in 2018''.

According to experts, several factors contributed to the growth of  blue-green algae - wastewater from dozens of settlements and coastal  objects flowing into a lake, agriculture, fish farming and animal  husbandry, in particular, phosphorus and nitrogen residues  penetrating into the waters of Sevan, flooded coastal forest belt ,  high temperature and climatic changes, low precipitation, as well as  frequent and strong winds that increase evaporation of water.  According to the Ministry, in May of this year only 36 million cubic  meters of precipitation were recorded, which is close to the  historically minimum (33 million). In order to stabilize the  ecological state of the lake, the Ministry of the Environment has  already carried out and continues to take a number of actions: 1.  Daily work is underway to define the demand for irrigation water and  reduce water withdrawal from Sevan; water withdrawal volumes are  monitored through field research; 2. Constant monitoring is carried  out in order to obtain information on the current state of the lake  and work to strengthen the monitoring system; 3. The Ministry of the  Nature Protection has applied to UNESCO to give Lake Sevan and the  adjacent territory the status of a biosphere reserve. An official  letter from UNESCO confirmed that work in this direction has already  begun; 4. Simulation of 1D water quality monitoring in Lake Sevan was  carried out with the involvement of the Helmholtz Center in Germany  and the Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology of the National  Academy of Sciences; 5. On June 26, the Ministry sent an official  letter to the Ministry of Education and Science of Germany to conduct  large-scale monitoring work, including assessing the nutrient balance  for the lake and defining nutrient management objectives, developing  a model for evaluating the effectiveness of 1D (nutrients, plankton,  dissolved in water oxygen), the development of a hydrodynamic 3D  model, the assessment of water quality through satellite remote  sensing, the assessment of various control scenarios and the  identification of problems etc..

The Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, Lake  Research Department, Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Leibnitz  (Warnemunde, Germany), company for research and environmental  protection in Germany (EOMAP GmbH Seefeld), Scientific Center for  Zoology and Hydroecology of NAS RA, SNCO Center for Monitoring and  Information of the Environment of the Ministry of Nature Protection  of the Republic of Armenia, Service of Hydrometeorology and  Atmospheric Effects of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the  Republic of Armenia.  The ministry also agreed with the EU a grant of  5 million euros for addressing environmental issues related to Lake  Sevan.  The government has discussed the issue of cleaning the rivers  flowing into the lake,which in some areas, especially in populated  areas, turned into a garbage dump.

The areas to be cleaned (up to 1901.5 m -770 hectares) have been  specified. In this regard, a competition has been announced, it is  planned to complete the cleaning work in 2019-2022. The Ministry is  developing legislative projects aimed at reducing pollution of the  lake with municipal sewage.  At the request of the Ministry, 14 large  business entities operating in the coastal areas of Lake Sevan have  already installed wastewater treatment plants at service and leisure  centers.  To note, in recent months, the Lake Sevan ecosystem has  deteriorated sharply. As a result of an increase in algae, the lake  swiftly swamps. The quality of water has deteriorated so much that in  recent days there has been a decline in livestock in the coastal  areas of Sevan.

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