President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Yury Petrovich, at the start of the year, I held a large meeting on environmental issues, and a Security Council meeting also addressed this subject. Various instructions were issued on improving the environmental situation in general, addressing the situation in regions where the environmental situation falls below all established standards, preventive measures, and changing industry’s approaches to these issues. In short, the instructions covered the full range of environmental issues. I would like to hear from you what has been accomplished so far and what proposals you have for continuing this work.
Minister For Natural Resources Yury Trutnev: Thank you, Dmitry Anatolyevich.
Acting on your instructions to the Ministry for Natural Resources, we have taken steps to put in place the conditions that will bring about an improvement in the environmental situation in the Russian Federation. I would like to report on two areas of work in particular.
First of all are the measures we are taking to improve the legislative and regulatory framework. We have drafted proposals for improving the protection of bodies of water, and we are now drafting similar proposals for protecting air quality. We have drawn up proposals for improving treatment of solid household waste and reducing the number of administrative hurdles in this area. We have also drawn up a package of proposed measures in the law on improving the economy’s environmental and energy efficiency. A detailed presentation has been prepared. I can provide information on all of these measures.
The second area of work concerns the quantities of waste – industrial and household waste – that has accumulated in the country over practically the entire last century. We estimate that we are looking at 80 billion tons of waste. We worked together with the regions to identify the 194 sites with the biggest problems and have drafted proposals for starting cleanup work in these places. We hope for your support in this work too.
Dmitry Medvedev: It is absolutely essential that we keep these problems under control. The authorities, civil society and the business community have a common responsibility to continue working on cleaning up our environment. Even at a time when business has limited possibilities, this work cannot come to a stop. We need to keep working on developing new environmentally-friendly production, improving waste treatment systems and reducing emissions. In other words, this work must not let up for an instant and must continue no matter what the circumstances at home or abroad. I hope that you take this into account too in your work.
Yury Trutnev: Thank you, Dmitry Anatolyevich. This is precisely the approach we plan to take in our work.