Environmental problems in Belarus
By far the most pressing problbem facing Belarus is the radioactive contamination resulting from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station and the on-going threat to the environment posed by the destroyed reactor and those blocks which continue to produce electricity. The country is clearly not in a position to cope with the repercussions of the disaster. Western aid is required here, particularly to provide medical care for the population, decontaminate polluted areas, provide reliable measuring equipment and to analyse the level of contamination in food supplies. Air pollution, although worrying in some cities, is not as dramatic as in most of the polluted industrial centres of Russia and the Ukraine. Water pollution, too, is less serious than in most of the successor states to the Soviet Union. A serious problem is, however, posed by salification of the water supply by the potash industry. Recently environmental charges were introduced with the aim of improving environmental protection. Yet given rapid inflation and the persistence of “soft” budget constraints for enterprises, such charges are unlikely to have so far provided a significant incentive to more ecologically sustainable production in Belarus.
KeywordsWater Supply Economic Policy Food Supply Reliable Measuring Budget Constraint
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