Maxim Yakovenko: "We work in the Caspian Sea together with Azerbaijan"
A year has passed since the heads of the Caspian littoral states signed the Convention on the Status of the Caspian Sea. The head of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet) Maxim Yakovenko spoke about cooperation with the countries of the South Caucasus and the Caspian region, as well as about dangerous natural phenomena in the North Caucasus.
- Is there the cooperation at the level of ecology, nature management, nature conservation with the countries of the South Caucasus, with Azerbaijan?
- All these countries are part of the World Meteorological Organization, where we, as one big world family, work on the exchange of information, the dissemination of dangerous phenomena, certain results, forecasts.
Now we have Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. We are working with 5 states in the Caspian, especially since the relevant commission - the Coordinating Committee on Caspian Sea Hydrometeorology and Pollution Monitoring - is led by the Hydromet. There is an exchange of data on hazardous events, an exchange of radar information, which is of interest to everyone, because of the unrest at the sea. We monitor pollution with Kazakhstan, there is a lot of work going on.
We, the five Caspian littoral countries, are monitoring. At the same time, Roshydromet is predominant, because the equipment, devices, processing, and observation are mainly performed by us. Our priority is pollution monitoring.
- How do you assess the level of pollution of the Caspian Sea?
- In those regions where oil production is taking place, the level of pollution, of course, increases, this is evident. In general, if we take the Russian sector, then there is a decrease in pollution.
- Has cooperation been established with other countries to improve the environmental situation?
- It has been established, but we do not deal with events. We are engaged in the observation, analysis, and issuance of certain recommendations. We do not take action. We do not expand, do not deepen channels, do not build dams, bank protection, do not close enterprises. These are other authorities that manage this sector.
- What are the priorities of Roshydromet in the North Caucasus?
- Now our priority is glaciers. This is interesting because over the past 20-30 years no one has dealt with glaciers. This year we will conduct the first expedition in the Krasnodar Territory to study the glaciers, what happens to them. Because in images from space we see how glaciers change, river flow changes, now it remains to conduct field studies to understand these events, to find out what happens.
- Is climate change influencing glacier movement?
- Yes, because of the temperature rises in the Caucasus, the air mass changes direction, the regime of melting glaciers, river filling, and hydrology change. We are interested in this because it is missed. Everything is clear in the Krasnodar Territory, the region is easily accessible. Besides, the Caucasus Nature Reserve, where the glaciers are located, is easily accessible for us as it is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources, communication can be quickly organized here.
And another proposal came from the Chechen Republic, the head of Chechnya, to research with them. But we will cooperate with them at the second stage, there are 2-3 glaciers there, which are also interesting.
- What is the current situation in the North Caucasus?
- Now in several republics, rain floods occur, but they do not reach catastrophic levels. Therefore, shortly, nothing dangerous is expected. Hail is traditional, but the hailstorm period has already passed in June. Therefore, agricultural workers can also sleep peacefully.
- In what areas should work be carried out in the North Caucasus?
- In the Caucasus, there is only one task - to bring information to the population so they know what they should do. Good outreach is needed there. The whole world has already passed or passed this stage. Let's say you come to a country where the weather services are well developed - to New Zealand or England. And you can learn about all possible dangerous phenomena immediately when entering a building. If this is a seismic hazardous area, then the entire first floor is in yellow helmets, everywhere there are announcements that if something happens - go to the first floor or under the table if you are on the second floor. People are already instructed, they know what to do. If a flood forecast is given that it will reach 7 meters, everyone understands that it is necessary to go there or there. There is no need to think, the only action is needed. In the North Caucasus, there is no such system.
For example, if we talk about avalanche danger. Since 1993, we have been involved in the forced descent of snow avalanches, protecting federal facilities, these are border guards, the FSB, roads, road and railway bridges and the buildings of federal executive bodies. At the regional level, we are monitoring. There is an avalanche hazard map, we monitor, give a forecast that there is an avalanche hazard and urgent need to lower the avalanches. This should be done by local authorities, but difficulties arise at this level. Resorts, however, we must protect by contract. Last year, together with the Ministry of Emergencies, we conducted an analysis of all resort areas in Karachay-Cherkessia, in Kabardino-Balkaria, in North Ossetia, and everywhere, we issued instructions for engineering protection.
The resort, ideal from the point of view of safety, is Krasnaya Polyana: there are avalanche descent systems, monitoring is carried out, work is underway. There were only three accidents related to the fact that people want to ride in the ‘Circus’, where there is an avalanche hazard. They enter avalanche, although there is snow to the waist, then they get into the flow, hit stones with their heads and go to heaven. So nature protects itself from those who do not listen to warnings.
In general, the owner of an object, for example, a hotel, is responsible for safety. If it is built in an avalanche danger zone and something happened there, first we check who gave the building permit, if the local government - a specific mayor or head of the settlement - then he is responsible. If it is a self-capture, then this is another article, and when something happens, the owner is guilty as he did not take into account this danger.