A fetid threat: why is the “dung law” dangerous for Russians?

The State Duma adopted in the first reading a draft law on handling manure. The new rules will allow entrepreneurs to decide for themselves what to do with excrement. Farmers used to dispose of tons of manure and litter in the nearest vacant lot, causing entire villages to suffocate from the fetid odor. With the adoption of the new law, the life of their neighbors may become even worse.

Vine, Sergiev Posad district. The tractor pours a new batch of slurry into the stinking field. Photo: From the personal archive/Pavel Kuptsov

«Dung water» from faucet

For example, in October 2021, in the city of Troitsk, Chelyabinsk Region, a liquid version of pig manure got into the water intake, because of this, 73,000 residents of the city were left without water for more than a day. “Dung water” literally flowed from the “faucet” in the apartments, the fish in the “river”, by the way, also died. The cheese factory of the Englishman John Kopinski literally poisons the lives of the inhabitants of the Petushinsky district of the Vladimir region. In the spring, the company was convicted of manure pollution of a tributary of the Klyazma River, later it turned out: the waste evenly covered the soil.

Screenshot of the video: a manure field right next to the highway, opposite the village. Turakovo, Moscow region. Photo: From the personal archive/Alexander Shulgin, senior inspector of the Association of Public Control in the Moscow Region.

“Only in the last two years,” environmental supervision bodies and “environmental NGOs” received complaints from & nbsp; residents from & nbsp; Naberezhnye Chelny, Belgorod region and Voronezh. In their appeals, people describe how they suffer from  unbearable stench from pig farms and poultry farms, and manure and slurry are transported to fields under the guise of fertilizers in such quantities that do not allow the contaminated liquid to soak into the ground. The earth is covered with green algae and  moss», — says Elena Sharoikina, Chairman of the Coordinating Council for environmental welfare at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Useful in small quantities

Loza, Sergiev Posad district. Photo: From the personal archive/Pavel Kuptsov

As you know, medicine and poison differ only in dose. Therefore, on the one hand, manure and litter — this is good, fertilizers are made from them, but due to the large amount of such waste, agricultural land becomes unsuitable for use even for industrial crops for years.

According to ecologists, fertilizers based on livestock excrement should be applied to agricultural fields in accordance with the recommendations of agronomists, taking into account the current state of the land. The agronomist responsible for a specific piece of agricultural land decides to bring one ha 10 kg or 1 ton. The danger of manure and litter also lies in the fact that they contain antibiotics, vaccines, hormones, intestinal bacteria, disinfectants.

"In addition, manure and manure runoff contain pathogenic microorganisms: so , brucellosis survives in manure for 20-25 days, mycobacterium tuberculosis — more than 400 days» — Elena Sharoikina says.

Dung — this is also a dangerous waste

Where there used to be forbs, now there is a fetid swamp. Manure — the same hazardous waste that must be properly disposed of. However, entrepreneurs are looking for a simple and  free way to get rid of livestock excrement and just throw it on the nearest wasteland. Not only the soil suffers from this, but also the local residents. The fetid smell spreads over many kilometers, manure and litter clog the sewer and simply interfere with living nearby.

“According to experts' calculations, manure and litter pollute the environment 10 times more intense than municipal waste.” Large livestock and poultry complexes have a large-scale negative impact on the environment, this is taken into account in the Federal Law No. 7“On environmental protection”. Consequently, all livestock and  poultry complexes are subject to state registration », — Elena Sharoikina told.

Depending on the number of livestock on the farm, the company is assigned its own waste hazard class. Bodies of state environmental supervision are obliged to impose increased requirements on farms, and entrepreneurs — comply with the requirements of the law: starting from the choice of technological solutions and ending with obtaining all necessary permits.

B helping business

The new bill is designed to save livestock breeders from unlawful fines and to establish the production of organic fertilizers in Russia, Vladimir Kashin, one of the authors of the document, a State Duma deputy, explained, speaking at the plenary session. Since             there has been a problem of ambiguous interpretation of the legislation on production waste in relation to manure and litter.

“This completely disorganizes the work of the industry. As as an example — egregious case. Rosprirodnadzor in Stavropol Territory filed a claim for 7.5 billion rubles            previously reported Veterinary and Life General Director of the National Union of Pig Breeders Yury Kovalev.

Benefit and threat at the same time

In Russia, agricultural organizations annually produce about 180 million tons of animal by-products. More than 60% of enterprises in pig and poultry farming completely process manure and litter into organic fertilizers. It is proposed to fix the property rights for manure and litter, which will allow to reflect them in accounting and tax accounting and put into turnover.

“The adoption of the bill will allow creating an independent industry for the circulation of organic fertilizers, exporting these products, and also using animal by-products as raw materials in agricultural production”, — noted in the explanatory note to the project.

Bill No. 79874-8 proposes to remove manure and litter from the sectoral legislation “On waste production and consumption” ; and  legislation "On safe handling of pesticides and agrochemicals". The document also proposes to regulate the entire chain of handling manure and litter: storage, transportation, processing, sale and use.

But on the other hand, this may mean that environmental agencies will not be able to carry out supervision of disposal of livestock waste. That is, the bill practically provides agricultural enterprises with “indulgences” on the pollution of fields with fresh manure, say environmentalists who opposed the bill. The letter was signed by more than 50 public organizations.

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