In Odesa, the exhibition “Dumaidan – 2016: photomoments” has opened. An expert discussion on the amendments to environmental legislation has been held.
The Project “Dumaidan – 2016: Preserving Green Areas in Towns and Villages ” began in March this year in Kyiv, where environmentalists and human rights NGOs proposed five amendments to the Ukrainian environmental legislation. Participants of the project are the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the International Charitable Organization “Environment – People – Law”, the NGO Center for Legal and Political Research “SIM”, the Environmental NGO “Green World“, the NGO “Green Front.”
The coordinator of the special project and the lawyer of the Strategic Litigations Center of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Olena Sapozhnikova said:
“With a certain background of environmentalists and human rights activists concerning what is necessary to change, the lawyers of the Strategic Litigations Center have developed a specific mechanism of how the legislation can be improved by amending regulations and regulatory documents. But because we can make mistakes, we show this draft amendments in cities of Ukraine and ask people in every city, whether we see it correctly. Perhaps, something needs to be deleted, something needs to be added, something should be formulated differently. We then summarize it all and will send the results to people’s deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. We will ask them: “Please listen to people and make sure that these norms work.”
The Project organizers decided to communicate with activists from cities in Ukraine, where environmental issues are particularly noticeable, and nature protection movement is the most developed. Also, we collected photos of famous ecological actions and made a traveling photo exhibition. It has already visited Kharkiv, Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk. Nataliia Halushka, the lawyer and analyst of the NGO Center for Legal and Political Research “SIM”, said that in the process of nature protection, the timely reaction of community is very important, because police and special organizations rarely timely appear to the place of cutting trees and able to solve these problems.
Oleh Perehon, one of the authors of the photos, Head of the Coordination Council of the Kharkiv NGO “Green Front” and journalist, has been protecting nature since 1992. He came to Odesa to exchange his experiences with local activists.
“There are no environmental problems of Kharkiv or Kyiv Oblasts. There are global environmental problems we have to solve together with others. I exchange thoughts, when there is such a possibility, with environmentalists around the world. Sometimes people from Romania or from Colombia proposes a genius idea,” said the journalist.
Anatoliy Boiko, Head of the Odesa Regional Committee of Voters of Ukraine and board member of UHHRU, says that this exhibition is very important for Odesa, as it is a large city with an active real estate development, where green spaces are constantly under threat.
“Inhabitants of Odesa attempt to defend their gardens and parks that still remained. At least the last ten years in different parts of Odesa there are different campaigns to protect or squares, or parks, or just green space, or lawn – anything that is needed for local people and that the developers encroach on,” said Mr. Boyko.
Yekateryna Bakova, an activist of Odesa movement “Green Leaf,” said about the fight of activists to save the alley of trees at the French Boulevard that local authorities have decided not just to cut down, but also to asphalt:
“Just gathered a group of like-minded people, some of them took crowbars and all these signs that we do not know who made and when, we simply picked away. Somebody called police, which have long dealt with what we were doing. But in fact, they could not catch us, and we said: “Was there a sign? Show us a document that it was!” and then we went away. But we received threats, calls. A year ago we went through it all. But we managed to plant about two hundred trees such a way. We planted the trees, where we were told that we could not plant because the government is keen to extend this road. We are, unfortunately, not Lviv, nobody listens to us. They just want and do it consistently. ”
Vladyslav Balinskyi, an activist of “Green Leaf” spoke about the indifference to environmental protection, as well as the reluctance of the authorities to protect green areas:
“The trees were grown artificially, so the approach to their maintenance, greening has to be special. It would have allocated considerable funds, but it has not been done. Therefore, we are now seeing very fast, catastrophic degradation of green spaces in Odesa.”
Prepared by Oleh Shynkarenko, UHHRU, specially for Hromadske Radio
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