A map exposing Armenia’s illegal mining activities has been prepared-PHOTO

A map exposing Armenia’s illegal mining activities has been prepared-PHOTO
# 16 May 2024 11:42 (UTC +04:00)

The “Environmental Protection First” Coalition, which brings together NGOs fighting against Armenia’s illegal mining industry, released a map of “Mineral raw material resources of the Republic of Armenia” at the Baku Business Center today, APA reports.

The map has been prepared by the “Azerbaijan Cartographers” Public Union, which is also part of the Coalition, in three languages – Azerbaijani, English, and Armenian.

The map contains important information exposing the adverse environmental impacts of Armenia's mining industry. It is clear from the map that Armenia has deliberately concentrated mining industry enterprises causing the most severe damage to the environment mainly in the Western Zangezur region – in territories bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan and close to transboundary rivers.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan's NGOs have recently carried out some exemplary work.

The donor of the “Azerbaijan Cartographers” Public Union’s cartographic work project dedicated to the important topic is the State Agency for the Support of Non-Governmental Organizations.

We recall that on July 11 last year, during a meeting dedicated to the socioeconomic results of the first six months of 2023 chaired by President Ilham Aliyev, the head of state said: “Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur were very close to the environmental disaster zone. Armenia has dealt a severe blow to our nature as a result of the activities of its enterprises and also as a result of the ruthless exploitation of our natural resources in the occupied lands of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur... The cross-border threats must now be taken into account, and Azerbaijan's position here is still based on international experience and international conventions, including the Espoo Convention. Anyone can review them on the Internet. It is stated there that the pollution of transboundary rivers and the establishment of enterprises that can be considered a source of ecological threat close to the border with other countries must be agreed with such neighboring countries, and we demand this from Armenia. Today, the Azerbaijani public and non-governmental organizations have already issued an appeal to the Armenian authorities regarding this issue, and international experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations working in the field of environment have also joined this appeal. Therefore, I think that the Government of Azerbaijan should also join this process.”

During the meeting, the head of state also praised the activities of Azerbaijan’s civil society in this direction and urged Armenia to give up these dangerous practices. “If they want to create an enterprise, we certainly can't have anything to do with that. It is their internal business. But if this enterprise is located 500 meters from our border, if dangerous substances are going to be used there, and if these substances are going to be spilled into the Araz River and the Okhchuchay River, this is very much an issue for us. How can we ever agree to that? Of course, we must pay attention to these issues within the framework of law, within the framework of international conventions, within the framework of diplomacy” (https://president.az/az/articles/view/60429).

The NGO meeting at the Baku Business Center considered it important to carry out environmental monitoring of Armenia’s mining industry enterprises.

The “Environmental Protection First” Coalition has stated that civil society organizations operating in the field of environment and healthcare in Armenia and other countries are ready to conduct environmental monitoring of Armenia’s mining industry enterprises together with international institutions.

The author of the map is Mugabil Bayramov, an engineer-cartographer with 43 years of experience in the field of cartography, former director of the Baku Cartography Factory, head of cartographic groups that have developed the “National Atlas of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “South Caucasus. 1903”, “Map of the Caucasus - Tbilisi 1847”, and chairman of the “Azerbaijan Cartographers” Public Union. In 2020, he was awarded the Order of Labor of Third Category in recognition of his services in the field of environmental protection.

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