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Biological laboratories in Armenia: New ecological crisis of S Caucasus

31 January 2024 19:00 (UTC+04:00)
Biological laboratories in Armenia: New ecological crisis of S Caucasus
Abbas Ganbay
Abbas Ganbay
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Nowadays, most countries in the world are moving to a new stage of the industrial fourth revolution in the use of environmentally friendly methods of exploitation, extraction, and processing of fossil raw materials. Green energy, or renewables, is becoming a substitute for the third industrial revolution.

On this basis, Azerbaijan is a country that has taken the existing environmental problems seriously and is rapidly moving towards sustainable development and environmental protection. However, there are still existing problems, such as the pollution of rivers by Armenian companies near the border with Azerbaijan, where water crosses through and plays a vital role in ensuring the life of flora and fauna in all countries of the South Caucasus. The Armenian authorities do not pay heed to the appeals and demands of both Azerbaijani and Armenian organisations, which demand to stop work at the Amuldag gold mine. Thanks to the joint efforts and cooperation of Armenian and Azerbaijani organisations, the activities planned to start at the Arazdayan metallurgical plant were recently stopped.

As stated by more than 100 NGOs and environmental activists from Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Amuldag gold mine project poses a threat to biodiversity and water resources. The Armenian government and Lydian Armenia did not take into account the results of the environmental impact assessment of the mine.

Despite numerous protests by international organisations and several decisions against it, mining wastes containing heavy metals generated by the exploitation of the Amuldag (Amulsar) gold mine are discharged into the Bargushad (Vorotan) River and eventually pollute the Araz River through the Hakari River. Such exploitation of the Amuldag (Amulsar) gold mine poses a serious threat to the entire region surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains as well as to its population.

Armenia becoming a laboratory mouse by US companies

There is one more significant problem, which the Armenian authorities selfishly treat: they permit the building of American biolaboratories for military purposes on their territory. The Armenian authorities have turned their territory into a place for testing of the "guinea pig" type. Since 2010, the Armenian authorities have been opening US reference laboratories. The American side claims that the alleged purpose of these institutions is to guarantee the health of the agricultural sector (animals) and to create ultra-modern laboratories for observation and monitoring of possible threats to human health. These laboratories are also known to have a dual purpose: they are financed by the military, and their activities are strictly classified.

Officials of these structures say that these are former laboratories of sanitary epidemiological stations that were modernised with the funding of Washington. Armenian Prime Minister N. Pashinyan calls these laboratories the property of Armenia, despite the U.S. financial support for their modernization. It became known that Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan signed an agreement with the Pentagon on opening the 13th laboratory on the territory of Armenia. According to many assumptions, this laboratory will be located in Gyumri near the 102nd Russian military base, where there is also one of the laboratories near an Armenian school.

It is important to note that biolaboratories, despite their names, work with pathogens (viruses), i.e., they are laboratories with a biological factor, which raises fears and concerns about the possibility of creating, modifying, and spreading various pathogens. It is also worth adding that the U.S. spends huge amounts of money to maintain and create laboratories around the world. For example, in Ukraine, they spent more than $200 million, whereas the number of biolaboratories in Ukraine is more than 30. In Georgia, $150 million, and in Kazakhstan, more than $130 million. In Armenia, these laboratories exist and operate in Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Ijevan, and other regions. As of today, there are 13 units of such biolaboratories in Armenia.

Armenia creates a number of problems in the region, not only because of its political dependence but also because the country is used as a purposeful business object by various Western organisations. This means that the future of the country is quite murky, and most importantly, reaching a long-term agreement on any issue with it is not a simple matter.

The Metsamor nuclear power plant, which has remained unused since the Soviet era but is considered a source of serious danger, is still a threat to the security of the region today. In such a case, Armenia seriously harms the nature of not only Azerbaijan but also other states, as well as the Caucasus region as a whole.


Abbas Ganbay is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @Noend33

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