Thousands of protesters outside Moscow force local officials to declare an environmental emergency
Several thousand people protested outside the Volokolamsk district administrative building on Thursday evening, demanding that local officials declare a public health emergency in response to air pollution leaking from the nearby “Yadrovo” landfill. The city’s mayor, Pyotr Lazarev, and the newly appointed head of the district, Andrey Vikharev, addressed the crowd and promised to begin the process of declaring an environmental emergency.
Earlier on Thursday, Vikharev revealed that the level of hydrogen sulfide in Volokolamsk’s air is now 12 times above what's considered safe. Regional officials for the Emergency Situations Ministry promptly denied this information, saying that its sensors haven’t recorded any new excesses of harmful gases in the area. Demonstrators have accused officials of concealing the true levels of hydrogen sulfide in their air.
Earlier this week, the Emergency Situations Ministry warned that low winds could lead to bad air quality conditions in the Moscow region. The ministry initially published the information as an “emergency warning,” which it later blamed on a technical error. Since March 22, schools in Volokolamsk have opened two hours later than normal because of air pollution that sent dozens of children to the hospital in mid-March.