Ecology is the main trend of the 21st century. Understandably: in the last century, the whole world, in pursuit of progress, has experienced an industrial revolution. However, according to the law of conservation of mass, if it reached somewhere, then it left somewhere else. And we are not talking at all about hypothetical issues, but about our nature, which suffered in the age of metal and fire.
The industrial losses of the past years are being eliminated in Karabash. Photo by Dmitry Kutkin (Vecherniy Chelyabinsk)
The Chelyabinsk region, as one of the leading centers for the development of Soviet heavy industry, paid a significant price for progress. At a time when no one was thinking about security measures, nature – forests, rivers, lakes – suffered enormous damage from business. A typical example is the Karabash copper foundry. For almost a hundred years of work, the factory changed the surrounding landscape beyond recognition: it poisoned the water, it destroyed the surrounding mountains.
Already, the results of a great job are visible to the naked eye. Photo by Dmitry Kutkin (Vecherniy Chelyabinsk)
Ten years ago, no one could have imagined that the city with the “lunar landscapes” would never flourish again, but thanks to private investment, this became possible. In 2004, the city-planning company changed its owner, who not only modernized the production area, but also invested heavily in environmental protection.
Already, the results of a great job are visible to the naked eye. Let’s face it – if you haven’t been to Karabash in the last 7-8 years, then you will definitely not recognize the city. The once bald slopes of Golden Mountain are already covered with vegetation and the terrible piles of rubbish have been turned into green hills.
Rehabilitation sites are divided into north and south. In the first there are “bald” mountains that have not suffered a direct technological impact and in the second there is waste. The total area of cultivated land is more than 220 hectares and the investment in this project is about 2 billion rubles.
“The technical stage of the restoration is now in progress. The main block of the Severny site is the construction of drainage ditches and the design of the soil on the slope of Mount Zolotoy. In the southern part, hydro-botanical sites are created which are the final stage of recovery of the disturbed area. All work will allow the leaching of contaminants contained in the soil layer to be excluded“, – write down Natalia GoncharVice President of Environmental and Industrial Safety, RMK.
Leveling, leveling of erosion pits, creation of drainage ditches. All these activities will help nature to recover on its own.Photo by Dmitry Kutkin (Vecherniy Chelyabinsk)
For each area, its own direction of restoration was chosen: leveling, leveling of erosion pits, creation of drainage ditches. All these activities will help nature to recover on its own.
The technical stage of the restoration has already been completed by 80%. Clay was moved to the slopes of the mountains and an artificial system of canals reinforced with stone was created. Now water does not enter the contaminated soil, but flows through an artificial drainage system in Lake Karabash. In the next stage, the area will be covered with a fertile layer of soil and will be sown with grass, whose root system will rejuvenate and enhance the desert landscape. After a while, the mountains will be overgrown with trees and there will be no trace of the once strong man-made impact.
“Not only the industrial area is being transformed, but the whole city. Here one after the other the squares appear, the areas along the road are refined. In Karabash, everywhere you can see fresh green grass, young plantings that will grow in a few years. Against the background of existing plantings, this added urban landscaping will help create very welcoming residential spaces in the future. The climate of life in Karabash is gradually becoming comfortable“, – believes Vera Merker Director of the ChelGU Botanical Garden.
Water is the basis of life
At the beginning of the reconstruction of the so-called “ecological disaster zone” in Karabash, one of the main priorities was wastewater treatment, Lake Karabash and the Sak-Elga River. Water, as a circulatory system, for many years carried heavy elements over a huge area, escaping through corrosive runoff from contaminated slopes.
The Sak-Elga is a tributary of the Miass River, the canal and surroundings of which were most affected in Soviet times as a result of the activities of the Karabash copper smelter. In the modern factory “Karabashmed” there is a supply of circulation water, when all the water of the company is collected, purified and reused for the needs of production.
However, more needs to be done to eliminate the anthropogenic damage of the past years. Shielding garbage and creating a green shield in the mountains is only part of the job. Something else was needed to clear the waters of Sak-Elga and a solution was found.
A hydro-botanical platform will appear very soon at the exit from the city to Miass. Photo by Dmitry Kutkin (Vecherniy Chelyabinsk)
Very soon, at the exit from the city to Miass, a hydro-botanical site will appear, it will be a waterfall of dams with a total area of 18 hectares. Gradually, their water area will be flooded with reeds, kittens, swordfish and other flora, which will clean the water from heavy metal impurities in a completely natural way. In appearance, the recovered area will look like improvised Versailles. The preparatory stage already looks very nice: the painfully yellow soil on both sides of the Karabash-Miass road has already been replaced by fresh grass overgrown with grass. But further – more.
“This year the river will be blocked to create the so-called low pressure dams about three meters high. When all the measures for the restoration of soils adjacent to the catchment area and the areas close to the waste are completed, the flow of drifted heavy metals will be practically reduced to zero. As the flow of the Sak-Elga River does not exceed 1% of the Miass River, this will generally reduce the flow of pollutants. For heavy metals, it will be practically normal“, – write down Alexander PetrovChief Engineer of the company “Project Cadastre”.
As a result, the former ecological disaster zone, called the Karabash neighborhood, will be covered again with a green carpet and revived. In a relatively short period of time, private investment has helped not only to improve the city’s ecology, but also to change people’s attitudes. Now calling this city “depressing” is simply not the language we should turn to.