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Removal of wreckage from Caspian Sea underway

11 September 2013 09:05 (UTC+04:00)
Removal of wreckage from Caspian Sea underway

By Sabina Idayatova

The work on cleaning the coast and seabed of the Caspian Sea from sunk ships and steel structures is underway, the official in charge of information provision and analysis of the executive power of Baku's Pirallahi district, Vusal Babayev, said on Sept.4.

According to Babayev, a lot of work has been done in this regard.

"Old, rusty ships, steel structures, located on the right side of the dam, have harmed the environment and aesthetic appearance of the Caspian Sea for many years. In order to remedy the situation, work is underway on cleaning the bottom of the sea with the involvement of divers. A number of old vessels and various steel structures have already been removed. The work is in the stage of completion," Babayev said.

Babayev also said the operations are being carried out not only at sea but also onshore.

"At present, large-scale work on construction, repair of relevant facilities is being conducted in the Pirallahi district. Overhaul of the United City Hospital No. 10 is nearing completion, overhaul of many residential buildings has been completed, a new water supply line is being laid, the electricity and gas system is being improved, and preparations are being carried out for the heating season," Babayev said.

The executive official also said projects are being worked out on a number of administrative buildings, including the building of the district`s executive power, Heydar Aliyev Center and the district branch of the ruling Yeni (New) Azerbaijan Party.

The environmental condition of the Caspian Sea has raised concerns. The problem is more acute in the shelf zones of the sea, and even dead zones have already emerged in those areas. The level of contaminants in some areas is 10-20 times above the norm.

The sources of pollution of the Caspian Sea are various. The basic contamination sources of the sea are the following: unpurified industrial products and agricultural waste, river shipping and seafaring, onshore and offshore exploitation of oil and gas wells, entering of pollutants through the atmosphere and water, etc.

During offshore drilling work drilling products and wastewater from cleaning facilities are often spilled into the sea. Though oil spots on water in the vicinity of oil wells are normal, waves bring them to the shore and the coastal strip, causing soil contamination. Furthermore, as a result of discovery and commissioning of oil and gas fields, construction of offshore oil wells, fields and pipelines has been carried out for many years. At present, the lifespan of most of these facilities is expired. These facilities also pollute the sea by being corroded.

Spilling of oil into the sea water without purification leads to pollution. The most oil polluted parts of the Caspian Sea are Baku Bay, Absheron Archipelago, Turkmenbashi, Cheleken, Mangishlag, Tengiz and other territories with the developing oil industry.

The fish industry is also suffering as a result of increasing oil production of the Caspian littoral countries that leads to water pollution. Extreme pollution of the marine environment as a result of increasing oil production in the Caspian states inflicts serious damage to the fish industry. The most dangerous pollution of the Caspian is contamination with harmful chemicals such as petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorine organic compounds and heavy metals, etc.

Chemicals change the composition of water and soil. This in turn affects fatally the flora and fauna of the Caspian Sea.

Some 3.5 million manats have been designated from the Azerbaijani President's Reserve Fund in order to solve the issues put forward in the June 20, 2007 decree on "Some measures on the protection against pollution of the Caspian Sea" signed by the President of Azerbaijan.

Modular local cleaning plants meeting international standards have been purchased and installed in Bilgah, Buzovna, Mardakan and Pirshagi settlements on the Absheron Peninsula as part of the efforts to enforce the presidential decree.

Azerbaijan is the only Caspian coastal nation where comprehensive measures are being carried out to protect the sea and its area from pollution. Further efforts in the coming years will result in more cleaning of the Caspian waters and the Absheron Peninsula will be excluded from the list of the sources polluting the resource-rich basin.

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