Environmental problems of sustainable development of the republic of kazakhstan
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011
Author: Kurmangaliyev Аrman, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
The extractive and processing industry is developed in Kazakhstan and the growth rates of these branches have been increasing in recent years.
Large industrial projects that lead to an increase in air pollutio and
deterioration of ecology of Kazakhstan are under construction and placed in
operation. For decades more than twenty billions tons of waste products have
been accumulated in the republic, about one third of that is toxic.
In this regard, the ecological situation in Kazakhstan is far from satisfactory. This article considers major factors of anthropogenesis and
those branches of economy that define modern ecological condition of
environment of the republic. A considerable quantity of the power stations and
heating plants of different capacities that use oil products, natural gas, and
nuclear fuel, occupy large areas. The majority of power objects were
constructed during the Soviet period and many of them do not meet today’s
ecological requirements; therefore, they heavily pollute the atmosphere and
soil with gases and dust affecting flora and fauna disastrously.
Qualitatively new kind of influence of power industry on environment
in Kazakhstan is the desalter of sea water in Aktau that works on a nuclear
As a result of mineral deposits development with infringement of
scientific and technical rules, there is a loss of raw materials in the course
of extraction, enrichment and transportation (Sokolovsk-Sarbaisk mineral
management, Zhezkazgan ore-dressing and processing enterprise, Karaganda coal basin, Balkhash copper-smelting industrial complex, etc.). Occurrence of
open-cast mines, mines, pits, disastrous funnels, pollution of atmospheric air
because of the dispersing of extracted and dead rock in waste heaps and
open-cast mines, extinction of natural flora and fauna, raised illness rate
among workers and local population – are the results of anthropogenic human
In the process of oil extraction the level of underground and ground
waters goes down and the integrity of soil-vegetable cover is broken. For
example, on Mangistau peninsula, the chaotic laying of dirt roads to drilling
units leads to vigorous roadside soil erosion. Besides, storing surpluses of
oil in open holes can often be the reason of the soil-vegetative cover
disappearance. Ground and underground waters are polluted with oil, which then
flow down into the reservoirs used by the population for consumption. There are
examples of the Western Kazakhstan natural gases burning in flares on oil wells
that pollute the atmosphere with products of incomplete combustion of
The enterprises of ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy use
considerable quantity of water (Ust-Kamenogorsk Titan-Magnesium, Zyrjanovsk,
Ulbinsk, Balkhash Copper-Smelting enterprises, etc.) in the technological
process. Thus the sewage containing considerable quantities of various oils,
alcohols and phenols get to the rivers and water basins, and considerable
quantities of sulfurous gases and dust get to the atmosphere. Technologically
in nonferrous metallurgy, it is necessary to process 50-100 tons of ores to
extract only one ton of metal at concentration factories; thus, a large
quantity of empty ore goes into dumps, which then is stored away and occupies
Sulfuric acid is used for the production of mineral fertilizers at
the metallurgical enterprises in considerable quantities. That also pollutes
the environment as an industrial drain.
However, the greatest ecological damage is caused by the emissions
of gaseous substances that pollute atmosphere. In fifteen cities of the
republic the level of air pollution is raised by harmful emissions. These
cities include Zyrjanovsk, Aktau, Temirtau, Taraz, Petropavlovsk, Shymkent,
Almaty, Ust Kamenogorsk, Pavlodar. High level of air pollution in these cities is
a consequence of out-of-date production technologies, inefficient treatment
facilities, and poor quality of used fuel. The basic polluting substances are
dust, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons, phenol, lead, hydrogen
sulfide, chloride hydrogen, ammonia, etc. Each of these substances in its way
negatively influences people’s health. Dust, for example, causes diseases of respiratory
tracts, liver and blood diseases, etc. The dustiest cities of Kazakhstan are Aktau, Atyrau, Zhezkazgan, Semei, Ust Kamenogorsk. Disorders of the nervous system
can be caused by the raised concentration of carbonic oxide in the air. Thus
headaches occur, memory worsens, and normal sleep is disturbed. The high
concentration of carbonic oxide is observed in such cities as Almaty, Aktobe, Karaganda, Kostanaj, Petropavlovsk, Pavlodar, Semei and some other. If there are several
kinds of pollutants in the air, which usually occurs, the negative effect gets
even more destructive. It affects immune system that frequently leads to oncologic
Because of the disorder of human economic activities, soil cover is
exposed to considerable negative influence, such as wind and water erosion,
soil pollution with household and industrial wastes. Change of the vegetative
cover occurs due to not only the natural phenomena, such as fires, hurricanes,
etc., but also due to deforestation and bush cutting, mechanical destruction of
vegetation during construction, irrigational-meliorative and a road works.
Degradation of pasture lands in Kazakhstan has reached considerable sizes due
to cattle pasture, soil erosion; desertification processes became more active.
Vegetation reduction in city landscapes leads to rise in temperature and air
pollution in cities, therefore expansion of the area of green plantings in
cities and settlements has a great sanitary-and-hygienic value. Nowadays
distinctly expressed tendency of worsening of a crisis ecological situation in
Aral, Balkhash, Irtysh, Kaspii regions, Rudnyi Altai, Almaty, Zhambyl, Ust
Kamenogorsk, Shymkent, etc. is observed.
Speaking about the regions with catastrophic level of
destabilization of ecosystems and geosystems in Kazakhstan present and former
water areas of Aral sea, territory of Semipalatinsk nuclear testing facilities,
northeast coast of Caspian sea, urban-industrial areas of Gornyi Altai: Ust
Kamenogorsk, Ridder, Zyrjanovsk, can be named. Balkhash, Zhambyl, Zhezkazgan,
Kyzyl-Orda, Temirtau, Shymkent, Almaty and Karaganda, the rivers Irtysh, Syr-Darya, Nura, Arys are regions with critical level of environmental
destabilization. Aktau, Aktyubinsk, Atyrau, Semipalatinsk, Kapchagajsk and
Shardarinsk water basins, lake Balkhash, Ili, Shu rivers are regions with
intense level of the environmental destabilization. Regions with satisfactory
level of the environmental destruction are urban-industrial areas of Kokshetau,
Taldy-Korgan, Petropavlovsk, Uralsk, Ishim, Talas, Tobol, Sarysu, Ural rivers.
Regions with favorable level of environmental conditions cover considerable,
sparsely populated territories of Kazakhstan: semi-deserts, deserts, mountain
areas (Chigarkin A.V., 1995).
Unfortunately, the problem of radiation pollution remains. Struggle
against radioactive pollution can have only precautionary character as there
are no ways of biological decomposition and other mechanisms, allowing to
neutralize this kind of environmental pollution. Spreading by a food chain
(from plants to animals), radioactive substances get into a human body with
food and can accumulate in a quantity that can be harmful to a person. Nuclear
weapon testing with good reason can be called the most serious crime against
the nature and humankind. From 1949 to 1962 about 200 explosions in atmosphere,
and from 1963 to 1989 - about 400 underground explosions were made in Semipalatinsk’s proving ground; the part of them was accompanied by emissions of radio
nuclides. Inhabitants of East Kazakhstan have received the greatest dose of
ionizing radiation after Hiroshima-Nagasaki and Chernobyl. The information
about the sickness rate connected with radiation influence was not subject to
promulgation until 1989. According to informal sources of information, the
number of deaths from leukemia made ten thousand people.
In Kazakhstan there is a number of factors which form radio-ecological
- Activity of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground;
- The nuclear explosions executed for the solution of economic
- The enterprises of an atomic-industrial complex;
- Extraction and processing of polymetallic ores, oil and gas that
Bad condition of water resources of Kazakhstan is also recorded.
Waterways of our republic are presented by near 85 thousand rivers. The largest
waterways are Irtysh, Ishim, Ili, Syr-Darya, Ural, Shu, Talas, Assa rivers.
Recent years have seen drying-out of the lake system. It is connected with
overregulation of trans-boundary and inland basin flows and with natural
fluctuations of their level.
Among the most terrible in the ecological relation there is a basin
of the main waterway of Kazakhstan – the Irtysh River. Its waters are polluted
with heavy metals (copper, zinc, cadmium, lead, arsenic, etc.) which get into
the river with sewage.
Environmental situation of the Caspian region is defined by the
increased level of the Caspian Sea and anthropogenous influence on sea coastal
ecosystems. As experts predict the sea level rise will lead to lengthening of
the coastal line to 2400 – 2700 km, and 1,2 – 2,2 million hectares will be
added to the flooded areas. Oil fields at northern and northeast coast of the Caspian Sea are exposed to the greatest danger of flooding (from 43 under the threat of
flooding oil fields 32 are in Atyrau and 11 - in Mangistau regions). The Caspian Sea is the world's largest habitat of sturgeon fish. Therefore the problem of the Caspian Sea is not only interstate, but also a global problem. Preservation of Caspian Sea biodiversity is a concern for the whole world community and for the five states
that have a common coastal line on Caspian.
Another most urgent problem is the preservation of Aral Sea. Since
1960, the area of Aral Sea has been essentially reducing. Use of water for
agricultural crops irrigation has led to reduction by more than 90 % of natural
water inflow from Tien-Shan mountains. The sea area has decreased by 2,6
million hectares, the sea has lost 6% of its volume, the water level has
decreased by 12 – 24 meters, the concentration of salts has doubled. Daily 200
tons of salt and sand are scattered by wind on distances of up to 300 km. Nowadays, the processes of desertification, salinization of soil, plant and animal life exhaustion,
climate change still remain and sickness rate of the population is increasing.
The environmental situation of the Aral region has led to impossibility of traditional
directions of economic development and has caused a number of social problems.
Destroying the environment, any modern society destroys its own
future. For prosperity of the future generations it is necessary to maintain
ecological stability. Thorough control over the environmental situation,
rationing and prevention of industrial emissions, working out and
implementation of waste-free and resource-saving technologies are necessary for
preservation of ecologically stable future.
With a purpose of maintenance of a stable development of Republic
Kazakhstan following mechanisms have been developed:
- Financing of actions of environmental protection from the state
budget, local budgets, means of nature managers, the international loans and
grants and other sources;
- Organization of competition among projects about environmental protection
and rational wildlife management with their possible further financing from
means of state and local budgets;
- Realization of the «pollutant pays» rule, meaning that nature user
bears responsibility for financing the actions for environmental protection and
for indemnity of a possible ecological damage, otherwise he should refuse to
carry out such activity;
- Application of rent payments principle at the taxation of interior
- Gradual refusal from fiscal payments for the issues of
environmental protection within standards, with reduction of the list of
substances, for emissions of which the payment is taken, with simultaneous
increase of stimulating value of indemnity of damage for excess of the established
standards, increase of rates of administrative penalties for infringement of
the nature protection legislation;
- Ecological insurance of any damage to the environment, and also
the organization of funds for financing of actions for the environment
restoration during the elimination of the enterprises;
- Implementation of ecological taxes on manufacturing of
ecologically dangerous production and/or services, with possibility of using
the funds for realization of large nature protection programs;
- Inclusion of the overall cost of natural objects into economic
indicators with consideration of their environmental maintenance functions, and
also costs of nature protection (ecological) works (services);
- Forming and application of the tax and tariff policy stimulating
reorientation of export from raw materials to products of deep processing;
- Creation and application of the system of taxes and the duties
stimulating use of non-polluting technologies, the goods and services
regardless of the producing country;
- Implementation of the system of trade by quotas (obligations)
between nature users;
- Implementation of market mechanisms of wildlife management,
including recycling and reprocessing of the industrial goods;
- Usage of the international financial and economic mechanisms in
the field of environmental protection, provided by the international
conventions and agreements;
- Developing stimulating measures for charitable activities in the
field of wildlife management.
Thus, the system of delivery of permissions to environment pollution
allows regulating environmental pollution by the industrial enterprises.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №3 - 2011