Environmental protection infrastructure map
The environment-protection infrastructure (EPI) is a component of ecological infrastructure and the most important sector of the current economic complex of the territory. The basic function of the EPI is to minimize the effect on the environment of deposited and utilized wastes (on the territory), discharges (into water bodies), production and consumer emissions (into the atmosphere), provided there is a developed selective (separate) collection of the secondary material resources. The EPI activity helps preserve a favorable environment for humans and use the territory’s resources in a rational manner. This map reflects only the EPI that deals with solid production and consumer wastes, with the latter often referred to as “municipal wastes” in the international practice.
The database includes the data of territorial offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the Russian governmental report on the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection (2013), Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Mongolia (2012), as well as project materials of regional development initiatives. It should be noted that the register of sites for storing (stockpiling or deposition) and burying of production and consumer wastes for individual regions is far from complete (based on Form 2-TP (Wastes)).
In the Baikal catchment zone (in the lower level administrative districts of the Russian part and aimags in Mongolia), the annual volume of production and consumer waste reaches about 86 million tons. The majority of these wastes goes to the EPI facilities of production enterprises (sludge dumps, tailings ponds, mining waste piles, slag and ash dumps, etc.) and municipalities (predominantly waste dumps and landfills). The official statistics recorded over 600 sites for depositing waste. There is a waste recycling plant (WRP) in Ulan-Ude. There are plans to build three more WRPs (Irkutsk, Ulaanbaatar, and the Special Economic Zone “Baikal Harbor” in the Republic of Buryatia), a waste sorting plant in Chita (Zabaikalsky krai), and several waste collection facilities for processing waste from ships on Lake Baikal.
The total volume of production and consumer waste generation in the Baikal basin is growing annually. The leader is Zabaikalsky krai with almost 2/3 of all registered wastes in the Baikal basin. Irkutsk oblast is leading in terms of the speed of waste generation per unit of Gross Regional Product (tons/million rubles). In terms of the number of registered EPI facilities and their area, Mongolia tops the list, with Buryatia being the second, which corresponds to the territory they occupy in the Baikal basin. The average size of EPI facilities of municipalities and aimags is 4.3 hectares. The size of EPI facilities of Mongolian aimags (6.3 ha) exceeds this indicator by almost 1.5 times, while the size of such facilities in Irkutsk oblast exceeds the average by 1.3 times. There are plans to restart the selective (separate) collection of the utilized portion of generated consumer wastes in the future, which will significantly reduce the size of authorized waste dumps and landfills, as well as numerous unauthorized landfills of solid consumer wastes.
By the structure of economic activity, mining wastes and wastes generated by the thermal power sector make up the largest share in the total volume of generated waste (in Zabaikalsky krai, Irkutsk oblast, and Buryatia their share is over 90%). Wastes of mining companies weighing millions of tons, as well as construction wastes, slag, and ash are classified as Class V by their hazard impact on the environment (not dangerous or low-hazard wastes).
Rosgeolfond. Siberian Branch. (2013). On the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection in 2012: State report. Irkutsk: Rosgeolfond. p 436.