By Nigar Orujova
At the time when the world leaders discuss the climate change issues in Paris, each country around the globe should think about its own contribution to the future of the planet.
Providing stable ecological situation dos not mean to think about the situation in one country, but the region as a whole. In the Caspian region, this issue remains acute, as five littoral countries could not come to a single position on the Caspian Sea – a one-of-a-kind water basin, surrounded by Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.
The problem of the sea, that is actually the largest closed lake in the world located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, started with the oil and gas exploration and continues for decades. During these years of hydrocarbons boom, the unique flora and fauna of the Caspian Sea face with the growing challenge.
The issue of the Caspian Sea ecology arose immediately after the collapse of the USSR some 24 years ago and still there is no solution to the pressing problems.
Being hydrocarbon rich, the Caspian Sea also enjoys wide diversity of fish and about 85 percent of the world sturgeons. Some 90 percent of black and red caviar sold all over the world comes from this region.
Today, there is a need to provide environmental security of the Caspian Sea, and to protect its ecosystems from various threats.
The unresolved status has caused many problems, the most significant of which is increased pollution. Oil production and refining have adversely affected the environmental condition of the sea. Although oil production does not play an integral source of pollution in the Caspian.
Recent studies have shown that the main source might be pollutants flowing in from rivers such as the Kura, Terek, and Volga. These major rivers bring about 75,000 tons of waste per year into the Caspian Sea, 90 percent of which flows from the Volga.
Meanwhile, oil production releases only 111 tons of oil products into the sea.
A third, but no less important source of the sea pollution, is industrial and household waste, especially in large cities.
Experts in ecology also believe that the use of the Caspian Sea for military purposes adversely affects the flora and fauna of the sea and, in general, cause great damage to its environmental safety.
However, with all these pressing problems, the Caspian state still leaves the matter in abeyance.
The Caspian shore is inhabited with 15 million people, who depend on the resources of the sea and its environmental security.
Azerbaijan is committed to resolve the issue of the Caspian Sea status and the proceeding environment issues. This issue requires a complex approach of all littoral states and active cooperation. Only joint efforts could provide not only safety of the sea, but also stable situation in the inshore states in the future.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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