On September 22, thousands of people flooded the streets in northwest Russia to protest against the controversial plan to construct a major waste plant. According to reports, police of the regional capital stated that nearly 1,000 people showed up for the rally. However, as per local media reports, more than 2,000 protesters participated and three were detained. Reportedly, the toxic landfills in Russia have risked the health of 17 million Russians. This issue of landfills and waste processing plants have lead to a series of protests in Arkhangelsk.
The protesters also marched on the streets against the waste dumps at nearly dozen towns. They held flags and placards which said, “Let's stand for the Russian North”. Russian media reported the detainment of three activists under the charges of organizing rallies without permission.
Previously, as per reports, several environmentalists have been detained by the Russian police during the protests in the month of June when hundreds of protesters blocked the entrance of the construction site. However, the demonstrators were eventually pushed by the police during a confrontation. During the demonstrations in April, the police allowed the protests to go on peacefully even though they were unsanctioned. Later the officials criticized the protests and reportedly detained several organizers. The outcry against the waste plant has gained national relevance after the regional government decided to go ahead with the project.
It is a government project to construct a waste plant near the railroad station of Shiyes in a pristine Russian forest. Most of the waste that will be received in the dump is expected from Moscow. This has further fueled angered throughout the northwest region of Russia. The construction work was also stopped in May due to major rallies across many towns after Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the authorities to evaluate the project. However, the construction is still in process. Evidently, Russia is struggling with the handling of billions of metric tons of waste which is serious in 10 regions. Earlier the General Prosecutor's Office has also said that inspections in the span of two years led to the closure of 10,000 illegal landfills.
(With inputs from AP)