April 1999Especially worrisome to the Finns is the Karelian Republic, a region of eastern Russia that borders Finland.
Finland, a northern European country bordering Russia, is releasing a report on the crisis currently affecting Russia's environment.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's environment has gradually worsened, and has now
reached very dangerous levels.
Pollution has been adversely affecting native ecosystems and the water supply in the area. Also, timber companies have been clear-cutting forests.
Industrial processes in
the area have polluted the water supply, often by releasing contaminants. Another major problem is that sewage usually goes untreated.
Health effects are one of the primary causes for concern, as unusually high rates of dysentery and hepatitis-A are being experienced. Cancer rates are also climbing because carcinogenic substances are entering into the water supply.
While the report criticizes Soviet-era
environmental policy and notes some improvement from the shutting down of many factories, it also points out that current government efforts to reduce pollution have been ineffective, and a growing consumer economy has been environmentally harmful.
Finland has made major leaps in solving its own environmental problems, and has offered assistance to Russia. According to the Finnish government's report, minor projects could greatly improve the water supply.