, Russia
Eastern Europe & Central Asia,
Air Pollution
Heavy Industry
Water, Soil, Air
Potentially affected people:
311,869 (2002 census)

The problem

Cherepovets, an industrial center 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow, is home to the Severstal steel plant, one of Russia’s largest steel plants. The plant was built in Soviet times and owned by the Ministry of Black Metallurgy of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). In 1965, a 5,000 meter-wide “sanitary security zone” was established around the steel plant (later reduced to 1,000 meter-wide in 1992). According to a letter from the Mayor of Cherepovets dated 3 June 2004, in 1999 the plant was responsible for more than 95 percent of industrial emissions into the town’s air. According to the State Report on the Environment for 1999, the Severstal plant was the largest contributor to air pollution of all metallurgical plants in Russia.

Health Impact

One study concluded that the exposure of residents to pollutants from the steel plant has led to their increased risk of headaches, thyroid abnormalities, cancers of the nose and respiratory tract, chronic irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, adverse neurobehavioral, neurological, cardiovascular, and reproductive impacts.

Current Activity

Several international organizations have funded projects here. The government has also adopted several measure to improve the environmental situation and aims to reduce industrial emissions from the Severstal plant by 2010-2015. No value added with Blacksmith involvement.

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