Protesters have rallied in more than a dozen Russian cities and towns against waste management plans that foresee Moscow sending its trash to poorer — and often pristine — northern areas.
The protests Sunday, Feb. 3, ranged from a few dozen people up to 1,000 in regions from northwest Russia to Siberia. The biggest rallies were held in the Arkhangelsk region, north of Moscow on the White Sea. They are protesting plans by authorities to accept trash from Moscow.
More than 1,000 people in Arkhangelsk braved temperatures dipping to minus 21 degrees Celsius (minus 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) to rally. The local 29.ru news website showed protesters holding placards saying “We don’t want Moscow’s trash” and “Pomorye is not a garbage dump,” referring to the area’s name.
The first major trash protests took place outside Moscow last winter, when several children were hospitalized with poisoning linked to a local landfill. Authorities have vowed to introduce trash separation and tackle the issue of the overflowing, poisonous landfills that ring Moscow.
Moscow has recently decided to ship some of its trash to Russia’s remote, pristine northwest, touting it as an investment project that could revitalize the economically depressed, remote region.
But environmentalists and even some Moscow municipal officials have called the idea “immoral” and urged authorities to invest in waste separation and recycling operations instead.