At the radio program of the Ukrainian radio “Culture. Live” lawyer Alexander Lupeiko shared his conclusions on the results of human rights activities in the field of ecology. According to the head of the Imperative Plus legal company, environmental problems in Ukraine are a reflection of the country's hardened economy and the inefficiency of state management.
“We have good constitutional norms, but we see how Ukraine suffocates from emissions, smoldering landfills, etc. For example, in the spring of this year, a forest in Chernobyl burned, all residents of Kyiv and the region were suffocating from harmful smoke. We know about the situation in terms of industrial pollution in the cities of Krivoy Rog and Mariupol. Where is the responsibility of the state?"
According to Alexander Lupeiko, the problem is not in legislation, but in the management system. The regulatory framework is constantly being improved and the EU legislation is being approximated. “What matters is how laws are applied and how state institutions fulfill their mission. We have a state environmental inspectorate – a specially created body, a separate ministry and local self-government bodies, – said the human rights activist – We are fighting for the environment, this is not just a fight for clean air, land and water, it is, first of all, a fight against corruption.
Since 2015, the Imperative Plus law company and Vladimir Kosterin, as the head of the Risk Reduction Fundation, have implemented a pilot project to protect environmental rights using the example of several “polluting enterprises” in the Kyiv region.
“Carrying out judicial and legal work in order to compensate people for moral damage caused by man-made accidents and to stimulate enterprises and authorities to work to eliminate accidents and neutralize environmental threats. We saw directly how difficult it is to overcome administrative obstacles, nevertheless, we reached the Supreme Court in the case of a fire at a BRSM oil depot, which arose due to numerous violations in the work of enterprises and won a victory in court. It took us five years to get positive decisions. We have reached a new legal standard and are now at the stage of execution of decisions".
Today, citizens have a demand for a clean and safe environment. According to the human rights activist, the state often “blames” its problems on ordinary people. “When officials say the reason for the fires in the Chernobyl zone is that it was as if people were burning leaves, this is a banal blabbering of the problem. Since it is necessary to say how the funds were used for fire and forest protection measures. Having collected factual information on this topic, I see many gaps in the work of the State Agency for the Management of the Exclusion Zone, the Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine, and law enforcement agencies as well”.
The lack of rights of people gives rise to the radicalization of public sentiments. In particular, the provisions of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on environmental issues and responsibility (Section VIII) are not being fully implemented. According to Oleksandr Lupeyk, the reduction of environmental risks in Ukraine is the direct responsibility of the state, the administrative apparatus and the political leadership of the country.