UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights got submission of our Association, devoted to the situation with plastic the Crimean peninsula, namely on the issue of relevant intentional and organised Russia’s policy in the Crimea, that violates brutally the collective and individual rights to safe environment, sustainable development and ecologic information. This ARC’s submission is a part of preparation the special UN report on lifecycle of plastics and human rights.

Submission points that Russia state policy in the Crimea is targeted to destruction as unique local ecosystems, so the other nature objects, that become parts of the urbanised spaces. The Crimea’s communal infrastructures is degrading since 2014 in conditions of increasing corruption in the local Russia-controlled “administrations” and of the permanent changes of Russia-appointed “heads” of the Crimean cities and towns. “Heads of local administrations” were changed by the “federal authorities” since 2014 four times for Simferopol, three times for Yevpatoria, four times for Yalta, three times for Sevastopol etc. 

 Importantly, that the Crimean became a “destination point” for more than 400 thousands Russian citizens, illegally resettled by the de facto Russian “authorities” to Crimea, including military officers, “officials”, “servicemen”, and their families. The quantity of Simperopol’s population increased from 300 thousand in 2014 to 500 thousand in 2020 and it continues to grow. Yet, the infrastructure of this city does not satisfy the needs of its current half-million residents, including the plastic wastes issues.

Submission adds that the waste management policy of Russian de-facto “authorities” in 2015-2021 was realised without any planning or qualified regulation. It causes situation of ongoing garbage filling not only the numerous Crimean landfills but also cities, towns and settlements of peninsula. Our Association reflected in own publication the rubbish collapse in Balaklava, Kerch, Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yevpatoria.

Our researches proved that the corrupted Russia’s “regional administration” in the Crimea has direct material benefits from functioning the unallowed scrapyards and that it imitates the re-cultivation of the closed landfills (among such 18 object only one was re-cultivated de-facto and 5 more “on paper” only). New landfills are planned in the peninsula with a brutal violation of the minimum sanitarian and ecologic demands, as it happened on the Kerch peninsula. Main Crimea’s “garbage tycoons”, closely connected with such “administration”, has no any interest in own business procedures’ modernization, acting via monopolized entities such as “Krymekoresursy” and “Altfater-Krym”.

So “ARC” proves in the mentioned submission that such Russia’s de-facto “authorities” make directly negative impact on the implementation of relevant “policy and legal framework” on plastics wastes and processes with them. There are no discussions on a possible “legally-binding instrument” on plastics, and on any provisions on environmental human rights in the Crimea. Scrapyards and landfills, full of plastic wastes, make deep negative impacts on the most vulnerable groups in the Crimean society, including youth and representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar People.

“ARC” submission adds that there are no good examples of access to environmental and health information, and meaningful opportunities for participation in decision-making, on plastics policy and legislation. In the village of Kamyanka near Simferopol, which became “famous” since 2014 for a huge landfill, the de-facto authorities pompously opened a waste processing plant in February 2021. But less than a day later, it “broke down”, and the local corrupted rubbish business returned to the established schemes of dumping garbage into the environment.

So Russia’s de-facto “authorities’” wastes’ policy in the Crimea, including the plastic issues, has strong negative impacts on human rights, including right to health, the right to a healthy environment, the right to life, health and adequate standard of living and dignity, the right to body integrity, the right to adequate food, the right to land and the right to safe drinking water, the right to housing, the right to meaningful and informed participation, the right to development, the rights of future generations etc.

Our Association proposed to the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, research the environment pollution in situations of armed conflicts and related “grey zones”, such like Crimea. We believe that the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Ukraine, including the Crimea, would contribute to collection of information, and would enable the Rapporteur to make a first-hand impression of the situation with pollution the Crimea’s environment.

Borys Babin