Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, chairman of the State Environment Committee, said that the air in 120 Russian cities is five times more toxic than acceptable levels, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
The main sources of pollution are factories that produce paper, metals and chemicals, he said. The worst-affected regions are Arkhangelsk, Lipetsk, Bratsk, Yekaterinburg, Norilsk and the region around Moscow, according to ITAR-Tass.
More than 14 percent of Russia's territory is in poor environmental condition, affecting 61 million of the country's 147 million people, Danilov-Danilyan said. Russia's factories and plants have dumped waste into the environment with impunity since the Soviet era, polluting air and water and killing off wildlife.
Motor vehicles are subjected to only the most minimal environmental regulation.
Wondwosen (Wondy) K. Asnake
United Nations Environment Programme
International Environment House (D-603)
15, chemin des Anemones
1219 Chatelaine - Geneva, Switzerland
Tel. (41 22) 91 78 158 Fax. (41 22) 917 8024