Posted: 30.08.2023 12:40:00

We appreciate what we have

From water to air: how pure is the famous Belarusian nature

The National Statistical Committee has published an annual statistical booklet on environmental protection in Belarus. It contains information about the state of the environment, the availability and use of natural resources, as well as the costs of its protection. The publication presents statistical indicators of ‘green growth’ and individual indicators of the national list of indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals. What has changed, what is the state of our nature today, and where are we heading?

Climate change
In Belarus, emissions of greenhouse gases that affect climate change have significantly decreased compared to 1990, notes Ekaterina Maslovskaya, Head of the Environmental Statistics Department of the Main Department of Agriculture and Environment Statistics of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, 
“In recent years, greenhouse gas emissions have remained about the same level. In general, no critical changes were recorded.”
 Such data are provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, which calculates them in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Belarus has committed itself under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels. 
A consistently high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, including through fertilisers used in the fields. And this is not surprising, since agricultural land in the country covers a significant area.
Also, according to the statistician, almost 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions into the air come from carbon dioxide.

Aleksey Stolyarov

The published booklet also presents indicators characterising emissions of pollutants into the atmospheric air, which come from both mobile and stationary sources of emissions.
At the same time, mobile sources of emissions, such as cars, pollute the air to a lesser extent than stationary sources (TPP etc.).

“Atmospheric air indicators are normal. There is no threat based on the recorded statistical indicators,” Ekaterina Maslovskaya draws attention.

The figures that many countries can envy in the final tables of the Statistical Committee testify to the careful attitude to the environment and water resources. The share of safely treated domestic and industrial wastewater is about to approach 100 percent. 
“Today, 99.8 percent of the water discharged into surface water bodies is safely treated wastewater. This suggests that the wastewater undergoes serious treatment before being discharged,” Ekaterina Maslovskaya emphasises. 

The expert also points out that, according to statistical indicators, water in our country is most often extracted from natural underground sources, and draws attention to a very important point: we use drinking water not from surface sources (for example, lakes), but mainly from artesian wells.
An analysis of the dynamics of water use indicates its stability in the country.

Belarus is one of the countries that has been able to ensure economic growth against the backdrop of a decrease in water consumption.

Aleksey Vyazmitinov

Forest and land resources
Our country is included in the 10 forest states of Europe, draws the attention of statistics. On the part of the state, there has always been an increased interest in this type of natural resources. 

Protection and respect for forest plantations is an undoubted priority. According to statistics, in 2022 there was an increase in forest areas that are sown with improved seeds.
 Ekaterina Maslovskaya also draws attention to the fact that 100 percent of Belarusian forest areas are covered by a long-term management plan, “For all forest areas, an action plan is developed for the conservation, reproduction and rational use of forest resources. Forest management is constantly monitored.”

Vitaly Pivovarchik

The ecological quality of life of Belarusians as a whole can be characterised positively. For example, there is an increase in the percentage of the population’s access to hot water supply and sewerage, more households are now provided with running water. Undoubtedly, the sphere of production has an impact on the environment. If you look at the statistics on the carbon efficiency of production, you can see the following pattern: an increase in production volume has proportionally affected a slight increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The growth in the amount of municipal solid waste, including per capita, is typical today for many countries of the world. We are no exception. However, along with this, Belarusian statistics also record an increase in the percentage of recycled waste in the total volume of their generation.

Aleksey Stolyarov

In general, according to the published data, the total expenditure on environmental protection activities increased slightly. We are talking about both investments in fixed capital and current costs aimed at protecting the environment. At the same time, most of the funding was directed to wastewater and waste management, as well as to the protection of atmospheric air and the prevention of climate change. 
According to the specialist, Belarus is at a high level in the field of environmental protection. The fact that our natural resources are surrounded by such care is shown by the given indicators. And when compared with other countries, it becomes obvious how much work is being done in this part. 

Dmitry Grummo, Director of the V. F. Kuprevich Institute of Experimental Botany at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 
“The above statistical indicators show us that there are no significant and radical changes in the state of the environment. This indicates a balanced state policy, correctly placed accents. There are three main priorities: wastewater and waste management, as well as the protection of atmospheric air and the prevention of climate change. With regard to our competence, it should be noted that the forest cover in the country is progressively growing and today is one of the highest rates in Europe both in terms of forest coverage and timber stock per 1 inhabitant of the country. 
The forest is becoming not only an important resource for the economic development of some industries, but also a brand of the country, and the tourism potential of the forest fund has not yet been fully realised.”

By Maksim Osipov, Anastasia Tselyuk