July 01, 2019

Talking Trash

Talking Trash
An environmental activist takes time out from prosteting against the construction of the Siyes solid domestic waste landfill near the Shiyes railway station. Maxim Grigoriyev / TASS / Alamy Live News

For several months, there has been a steady trickle of news reports from Shiyes, a nondescript railway station nestled amid forests and lakes not far from Syktyvkar, that sound as if they are coming from a war zone. The people of the region’s cities and villages, including Arkhangelsk, have stood watch over a muddy construction site. Without asking anyone’s opinion, local authorities have allowed the area to be turned into a waste disposal site for Moscow, which lies 1,000 kilometers to the south.

Moscow has long neglected its waste problem. A growing city draining the rest of the country, the capital is a magnet for workers and students, building and expanding with no end in sight. Moreover, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has overseen massive redevelopment of the city’s streets, and plans to tear down hundreds of Soviet-era apartment buildings in order to erect larger and taller residential towers.

Yet the question nobody seems to have been asking is: “What do we do with all of our accumulating waste?”

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