Authorities do not find it necessary to notify citizens of environmental situation

The Sibay city court of Bashkiria considers that Rospotrebnadzor is not obliged to promptly inform the city residents about the environmental degradation, even if the pollution is ten times higher than the permissible norm and seriously affects the health of citizens. It will be enough for the department to inform the authorities about this. This was stated in the recently published motivational part of the decision on the lawsuit of the eco-activist and one of the founders of the «Sibai Breathe Movement», Eduard Kadyrov.

Smog in the city
Smog in the city

Kadyrov, referring to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal laws “On the sanitary and epidemiological welfare of the population”, “On environmental protection”, “On the protection of atmospheric air”, pointed out the illegality of the actions of the Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare), which did not promptly notify Sibay residents of the multiple MPC excesses of harmful substances in the air in December 2018 — January 2019.

Due to the burning of ore in the mines of Uchaly GOK (Mining and Metallurgical Combine), on December 31, 2018, the local branch of Rospotrebnadzor discovered dihydrosulfide content in the city streets exceeding the MPC by 52.5 times and sulfur dioxide that was 15.2 times higher than MPC maximum.

These data became public only in March 2019, and that was only thanks to the actions of the prosecutor’s office, which appealed to the Sibay court with a lawsuit against the local administration and the leadership of the Uchalinsky GOK. At the mayoralty’s website, during the indicated period, atmospheric samples were “within normal limits”; Rospotrebnadzor also did not report the poison excess in the air until January 10, 2019.

The administrative plaintiff believes that Rospotrebnadzor, having published data on MPC-exceeding harmful substances with a delay and in a very truncated form, violated the rights of Sibay residents to have favourable environment and reliable information about its condition. This had an extremely negative effect on the health of citizens: many in January 2019 complained of suffocation, aggravation of allergic diseases, cough, and the number of pneumonia cases among children under 17 years old increased several times in comparison with previous periods.

Having examined the case, the Sibay City Court did not recognise any law violations by the defendants. The court said that the timing of the publication of such information on the Internet and the amount of published data are not regulated by anything. The requirements of federal laws to post this information during the day apply exclusively to authorities, and not to citizens. The administration of Sibay was notified of the situation no later than January 2, so there is nothing to complain about formally.

Eduard Kadyrov intends to appeal to the Supreme Court of Bashkiria.

The irresponsible attitude of the Russian business towards the environment is a well-known fact and, unfortunately, is becoming more and more common. The damage from it is growing every day, but capitalists do not cease to profit from harm to nature and the health of ordinary citizens. The authorities’ connivance to such situations is quite natural: capitalist leadership does not exist to ensure the well-being of society as a whole. It cares only about a small bunch of “powerful people of this world” who own resources and means of production.

Going to courts to solve these problems does not seem to be very effective. Bourgeois justice is a puppet in the hands of the ruling class, it has repeatedly proved this with its actions. One can seriously influence this situation only by fundamentally reorganizing the entire society as a whole, by moving to a system that does not prioritize profit and only profit.