The environmental problem is familiar to the whole world, including Belarus. It would seem that our country is small and clean, but factories emit toxic substances and pollute rivers. Also, the BelNPP, about which we speak with caution after Chernobyl painfully hit our territory. Today we will tell you how «Our House» is fighting for the ecology of Belarus.

In 2011, «Our House» fought for the right to breathe fresh air in Slutsk. In one of the micro districts, they wanted to build a plant that reprocesses household and industrial waste. The meeting with residents was attended by representatives of housing and communal services, environmentalists, deputies, representatives of the sanitary-epidemic station, an architect and a representative of investors. The former director of a sugar factory suggested building a factory on a military training ground, next to which the railway lines pass. A local deputy was also against the plant in the city. The residents of the micro-district were in solidarity in the opinion that there should not be a plant next to residential buildings.[1]

In 2012, an environmental problem appeared in Tolochin district – the farm dumped waste and animal corpses into a ravine near the Sokolyanka river. Water with a disgusting smell flowed into the river. Let us clarify that Sokolyanka flows into the Adrov river, the right tributary of the Dnieper. It means that the problem goes beyond one district. The activists of «Our House» passed information about the threat of pollution to the head of the inspection of natural resources and environmental protection – they checked the farm, which dumped waste into the ravine.[2]

Another environmental problem in Tolochin district was also successfully resolved by the activists of «Our House». In 2012, the administration of the local cannery poured waste in the nearest forest. Photos appeared on the website of «Our House». The inspectorate of natural resources began an investigation. They fined Tolochin cannery. The director, who escaped responsibility, was arrested six months later for dumping industrial waste into the river.[3]

In 2016, «Our House» developed the script for the performance «We grieve. We Remember», dedicated to the issues of cutting down trees because of the planned reconstruction of some streets in Homel. During the action, 24 young trees, planted several years ago on both sides of Proletarskaya street near Lenin square, were tied with black mourning ribbons.[4]

In 2018, «Our House» released an environmental program. According to this, it is necessary to begin the reservation of all types of plants and animals, ecosystems and landscapes. Also, the Belarusian government should start the fight against air and water pollution and a decrease in fertility soil. Under this program, in Belarus, it is necessary to determine the degree of environmental danger of all the factories and to involve people in the ecology. The officials should pay attention to Polesie and Braslav, Naroch and Zapadnaya Dvina lake systems. 

To implement this program it is necessary to adopt the Environmental Code of the Republic of Belarus, introduce the practice of regional and local referendums on ecological issues, and simplify environmental legislation. We need to follow EU ecological standards, punish people for organizing unauthorized waste dumps. Our country should build modern waste processing plants by 2025. It is also necessary to introduce the principles of safe waste storage, reduce the dependence on Russian energy sources, ensure high quality and safety of food, increase the interest of Belarusians in the construction and operation of energy-efficient houses, develop mini-thermal power plants and produce biogas from poultry manure.

The activists of «Our House» were not indifferent to the problem of the battery plant in Brest. In 2019, in Brest and Bobruisk, representatives of the organization took part in mass actions.[5] Besides, «Our House» monitored the court proceedings against bloggers and activists who talked about the construction of the battery plant.

In 2019, «Our House» participated in defending the park near the «Tourist» hotel in Homel. In its place, they wanted to build a 16-floor building with parking. The activist of «Our House» attended a meeting with deputies to discuss preserving the park. The administration of the Central District of Homel helped to solve the issue. New trees appeared in the park.[6] 

A separate campaign of «Our House» was dedicated to the BelNPP. Construction of the station and its consequences «Our House» discussed back in 2012-2013. In 2017, activists fought against the silence of the problem at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In 2019, we took part in a meeting to discuss the Environmental Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Strategy. In 2020, after the disastrous opening of the station, we called for the termination of its operation. We tried to interrupt the actions aimed at violating the health and safety of citizens of the Republic of Belarus. At the end of the year, it became known that the start-up of the nuclear power plant was postponed until 2022.

The last months have proved to the Belarusians that the illegitimate government does not care about culture, or education, and even ecology. While the dictator is at war with the people, factories continue to throw harmful substances into the air and water, and the government continues to drain swamps. We can save Belarusian nature from death, which can be prevented if Lukashenka leaves.