More than 67,000 pollutants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals have been found in concentrations exceeding EU standards in the Dnipro River basin, the biggest in Ukraine. These are results of the pollutant screening carried out for the first time in the Dnipro River basin as part of the European Union Water Initiative Plus project (EUWI+).
The report was presented jointly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources and the State Agency of Water Resources of Ukraine on 25 February.
In October 2020, the EUWI+ project took 27 water samples and five fish samples at diverse sites in the Dnipro basin, from the border with Belarus down to the Black Sea, to investigate the presence of pollutants. The new precise field and laboratory data enables decision-makers to implement targeted measures in order to increase the protection of people’s health and the environment in Ukraine.
“The detected substances will be included in the ongoing monitoring of surface waters. This will help identify the sources of pollution and prevent such pollution in the future,” Minister Abramovskiy said.
The Dnipro River basin covers half of Ukraine and is home to more than 20 million people. The river system provides the population with drinking water and recreation areas, allowing the local economy to thrive, the report says.
“Water is crucial for climate regulation, ecosystems functioning and human health. Our economic development is highly dependent upon water. Therefore, water policies are among the main building blocks of the European Green Deal,” said Chloe Allio, Head of the Economic cooperation, energy, infrastructure and environment Section of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “Ukraine has committed to implement six EU Directives in the water sector. Although national water legislation has improved over the last years, its implementation remains challenging.”
Based on the report, the State Agency of Water Resources has been given a list of 21 specific river-basin substances to include in its surveillance monitoring programme as of 2021. In the future, these substances will be monitored in particular by the Laboratory for the Northern Region in Vyzhgorod. EUWI+ is currently equipping this laboratory with new analytical instruments and relevant training compliant with EU standards.
The EUWI+ project helps Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to bring their legislation closer to EU water management policies, with a focus on managing transboundary river basins.
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