Today the Zaporozhye City Council's Environmental Commission visited DNEPROSPETSSTAL. The purpose of the visit was to verify the Company's compliance with environmental requirements. Together with a group of deputies headed up by Ludmila Zavgorodniaya, the environmental situation was investigated by Igor Broyde, Head of the Environmental Department, Evgeniy Tulushev, Chief of the Environmental Cleanliness Division at the Municipal Sanitary Authority and other officials. During the visit the representatives of local authorities viewed steel melting shop number one where the purification facilities will be installed and also talked to the Company's management and the media.
The issue that most concerned environmentalists, company personnel and journalists present was the construction of purification facilities in workshops number one and three and the impact of the Company's operations on air quality in the time period preceeding the installation of the gas purification units. This concern is well justified: DNEPROSPETSTSAL's project should be completed in only two years. Start-up and set-up operations on the final facility should take place in April-May 2010.
All participants of the visiting session noted that although the Company's smokestacks are still emitting smoke, work is moving forward now.
"- What has changed during the time of our joint work is the attitude toward the environmental agenda. At first there was a murmur of protest but now the situation is radically changed. We see positive thinking, the Company's plans are real and reflected in the agreement which contains the project's funding details and completion deadlines", -says Ludmila Zavgorodniaya, Chairperson of the Deputies Commission.
Igor Boyde also expressed a reserved optimism. He is well aware of the situation at the Company as he once worked there heading up the group in charge of gas purification systems. Mr Boyde pointed out DNEPROSPETSTSAL's readiness to cooperate with local authorities and added that the number one priority for the immediate future is monitoring the schedule for activities planned. "In order to achieve that, the commission should visit the plant twice a year", Igor Leonidovich said.
The Chief of the city's sanitary authority was not too generous with positive assessments.
"The Company has a determinative impact on the central city's air quality. And the quality is still not up to sanitary standards", -Evgeniy Tulushev stated.
Even though DNEPROSPETSSTAL's share in the total amount of atmospheric emissions is relatively small, roughly 2%, according to Mr Tulushev, it is a problem of quality, not of quanitity.
"What matters is the kind of pollutants emitted by industrial plants. And DNEPROSPETSTSAL is a source of many kinds of heavy metals ranking high in terms of damage potential. That is why the reduction of emissions by this particular company is a major step toward a significant improvement of the city's environmental situation", - Mr Tulushev said.
Until the time the new gas purification systems begin operations, the deputies asked the plant's management to take such issues as operations in adverse weather conditions, night-time and weekend emissions with a sense of responsibility. But the Company's respresentatives had their answers at hand. The problem is that specialists at the ministry for emergency situations give the Company's dispatcher only several-hours' warning before the time when industrial emissions will not be properly dissipated due to weather conditions. And the Company does not have the time required to switch over to other less environmentally harmful porcesses.
DNEPROSPESTSTAL's specialists were asked if it were possible to reduce emissions at night and on weekends. According to the deputies the Company's operation is at its most intensive exactly at those times in order to save costs using scaled electricity rates. Alexandr Panchenko, director general, dispersed all doubt. "The production process is continuous regardless of the time of day or public holidays. If you stop the furnace even for two hours so much energy is required to get it re-heated again that no energy savings at scaled rates will help. Add in the additional costs for refractory materials. We do not save at the expense of people's health".
As the meeting was held on the eve of Steelmaker's Day the guests wished the steelmakers good health, happiness and the implementation of environmental programs.