The meeting was attended by employees of relevant government agencies represented in the Working Group, and employees of the Special Representative Offices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the Karabakh and East Zangezur economic regions.
The participants were informed about the comprehensive monitoring carried out in the areas liberated from occupation to assess the environmental situation, and discussions were held. At the meeting, members of the Working Group were also informed about the biomonitoring to determine science-based measures to prevent transboundary pollution of the Okhchuchay River, rehabilitate ecosystems, improve water quality, and prepare appropriate proposals.
During last week’s monitoring to determine the level of water pollution in the Okhchuchay River, serious changes in water color and a pungent smell were observed. An analysis of the water samples taken near the border with Armenia showed that the concentration of iron, manganese, molybdenum, ammonium and sulfates in the water had further increased. An analysis of data transmitted from the new generation automatic hydrological stations installed on the transboundary rivers, including in the village of Shayifli in Zangilan District, also confirmed an increased level of pollution.
Heavy metal pollution in the Okhchuchay is recorded all year round. The changes in the color and odor of the water in the river recorded in the course of the most recent monitoring were caused by a dramatic increase in the content of ammonium ions and sulfate in the water. For example, the content of ammonium, widely used in the mining industry, in the Okhchuchay was recorded as 4-5 times higher than normal, and the content of sulfate was also several times higher than normal. Due to the ongoing pollution of the Okhchuchay River from the territory of West Zangezur, appeals were made to international organizations informing them of the environmental crisis and the critical condition of the river and its ecosystem, and calling for action to stop the ongoing pollution situation.
Moreover, despite all the appeals and calls addressed to the German Cronimet holding company, a shareholder of Kajaran Copper-Molybdenum Combine in Armenia, which is one of the main sources of the pollution, no practical measures have been taken and the pollution of the river continues.
Given the severity of the issue, evidence gathered through regular environmental monitoring was submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan for legal assessment and appropriate action.
The Working Group works through close interaction and exchange of information with other working groups of the Interdepartmental Center.