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'Chemical attack' descends upon Atyrau 06 августа 2015, 18:59

Excess hydrogen sulfide emissions in Atyrau in western Kazakhstan cause headaches and suffocation among residents.
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A thick smog with a stifling smell of oil products has been enveloping Atyrau for more than a week. Residents of the western Kazakhstan city complain of suffocation, headaches and general weakness caused by the smog that would encroach upon the city with dusk, Tengrinews reports citing Ak Zhayik.

On July 23 Ak Zhayik journalists sent a letter to the Department of Ecology and environmental prosecutor's office asking to conduct an inspection. Experts tested the quality of outdoor air from July 23 to 26, but declared they found no abnormalities.

In view of the continuing complaints from citizens, the journalists of the newspaper sent another letter to the Department of Ecology on July 29, now with a request to be provided with the data from the devices monitoring the air quality at the monitoring stations of Agip KCO, Atyrau Oil Refinery and Kazakh state-owned weather company Kazhydromet for the period from 26 to 29 July.

Of these, devices of Agip KCO revealed hourly excess of maximum permissible concentration of hydrogen sulfide during those three days. In particular, excess emissions of hydrogen sulfide were recorded at the air monitoring stations located in the area of the KazTransOil Atyrau oil pipeline control facility, Akzhayik-7 train tanks repairing facility, Tukhlaya Balka evaporation fields, waterfront near Chagala hotel and near the Oblast akimat (municipal authorities' headquarters).

The largest hydrogen sulfide emission was recorded by West Oil station on July 29: the amount of hydrogen sulfide in the air exceeded the maximum permissible concentration 63 times!

Meanwhile, according to the ecologists, the wind direction in the city during those days was constantly changing, so it is hard to determine which of the companies was responsible for spoiling the air.

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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