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Okchuchay pollution directly affects quality of water resources of Araz River

10 July 2023 13:57 (UTC+04:00)
Okchuchay pollution directly affects quality of water resources of Araz River

"I do not remember such a conference between the countries. This is an example of friendship and brotherhood between Azerbaijan and Turkiye," Azerbaijani Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev said, speaking at the conference on cross-border cooperation between the prosecutor's offices of Azerbaijan and Turkiye held in Nakhchivan, Azernews reports.

The Prosecutor General noted that a number of issues were discussed with Turkish colleagues during his stay in Nakhchivan.

"The most discussed issue is Armenia's offense in the border region. The degree of pollution of the Araz River is obvious, and the construction of a factory there has resulted in an environmental crime. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev also raised this issue at the Non-Aligned Movement and once again pointed out Armenia's crimes out loud."

"The construction of the plant creates huge problems for both Turkiye and Azerbaijan, and we have brought this to the attention of the international community as an environmental crime. Given that the Okchuchay flows into the second largest river in the South Caucasus, the Araz, its pollution affects the water reserves of the Araz River," the Prosecutor General added.

The Okchu River in Azerbaijan has become a target of environmental terror in the form of heavy pollution and waste from Armenia's chemical plants.

According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, the pollution of the river has reached catastrophic proportions and has led to the death of flora and fauna and jeopardized its continued existence.

"There are two major mining and processing plants in Armenia in the Okchu River basin. These are the Gajaran-Zangazur copper-molybdenum combined and the Gafan iron ore combines. Water contaminated with heavy metals during the production process at these enterprises is discharged into the Okchu River without filtration, which leads to serious environmental disasters in the river basin," Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Vugar Kerimov said.

The Okchuchay is the left branch of the second largest Azerbaijani river Araz on the Azerbaijani-Iranian state border. The Ohchu River is 85 km long and flows through the territory of the Gafan region of Armenia and the Zangilan region of Azerbaijan. It originates at an altitude of 3.285k meters above sea level on the Gapijig Mountain, the highest point of the Zangazur Range, which forms the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The Okchu River is one of eleven rivers located in the liberated Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, where more than 30 percent of the country's water resources are concentrated. During the nearly 30-year illegal Armenian occupation of the Karabakh region, environmental crimes, including deforestation, illegal trade in natural resources, and pollution of water reserves, have become commonplace.

Azerbaijani authorities are convinced that Armenians are purposely polluting rivers to cause an agricultural, environmental, and humanitarian catastrophe in Azerbaijan. The Okchu River is believed to be used by Armenian producers as a "collector" to transport industrial waste out of the country.

"Water has been called "the most common victim of mining". An environmental disaster is unfolding on the Okchu River, which flows from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Severe chemical pollution is the result of Armenia's mining industry. Responsible companies must stop their activities," Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan and Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, wrote on his Twitter page.

The Karabakh region water study took place against the backdrop of the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from 30 years of illegal occupation by Armenia.

During a counter-offensive operation conducted between 27 September and 9 November 2020, Azerbaijani forces forced the Armenian military out of more than 300 settlements in the Karabakh region, including the towns of Jabrail, Fizuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha. The war ended with a trilateral statement signed on 10 November by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. According to the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin to Azerbaijan by 1 December.

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