River pollution is an issue for the entire region, regional integration, President of the Institute for Perspective and Security in Europe (IPSE) Emmanuel Dupuy told
“Zangilan district is located on the border with Iran, so this is not even a question between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but a regional one,” Dupuy said.
According to him, a similar problem is inherent in Central Asia as well.
“The pollution issue is also related to the insufficient modernization of the Armenian economy. They use a range of materials that pollute the environment. Therefore it is also a question of industrial modernization,” Dupuy noted.
As a transboundary river, Okhchuchay has always been heavily polluted by industrial wastewater in Armenia since it is used as a collector of industrial facilities along its banks.
Due to the release of waste from the copper-molybdenum plant and the copper-ore refinery operating in Armenia into the water, many heavy metals contaminate the environment.
Laboratory analysis of water samples taken from January to March 2021 revealed a high content of heavy metals. At the same time, mass death of trout and other fish species (listed in the Red Book) in the river was documented.
Along with the destruction of fauna, Okhchuchay’s pollution is hazardous for human health. Using the river’s water may cause numerous diseases, such as problems with gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and bone tissue, as well as the disorders in the cardiovascular, nervous, and hematopoietic systems.
According to a report of the Azerbaijani Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry, the content of the copper-molybdenum compound is twice as high as the norm. Iron and nickel content in the water exceeds the normal amount by 4 and 7 times, respectively. It explains the change in the color of the river to white and acid yellow.
The latest analysis of river water and sediment samples was carried out at an internationally accredited and certified SGS laboratory in Germany, by the ministry’s order. The results showed that a critical level of the river pollution.