The UN Special Rapporteur on issues of hazardous materials warned of the high risks of a chemical spill in eastern Ukraine, which is fraught with disastrous consequences for the health of the local population and the environment, reported the UN News Center.
Baskut Tuncak, the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, reminded that there are large chemical and industrial plants located in the Donbas. Armed clashes take place in the areas which are in close proximity to these industrial enterprises.
For example, on February 24, a building in which seven tons of chlorine was stored was shelled. Fortunately, the containers with gas were not damaged, but in case that there had been damage to only one of them, everyone within a radius of 200 meters could have died. And if the damage had been greater, it would have been necessary to evacuate all those living at a distance of up to 7.4 kilometers within 24 hours.
The UN expert urged the parties to the conflict to take into account the civil character of the facilities of such infrastructure as well as water supply systems. He said that the territories adjacent to this infrastructure must be "demilitarized".
He also recommended providing water service workers, including in areas that are beyond the control of the government, with appropriate supplies and equipment in the event of damage to the chlorine storage facilities. Then these specialists would not only survive, but could also take measures aimed at saving local residents.