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Foodmaster-Shymkent fined mere $1,270 for polluting river with caustic soda and sulfuric acid in Kazakhstan 20 марта 2013, 12:38

Foodmaster was fined a derisive $1,270 in Kazakhstan for discharge of polluting substances and storage of wastes.
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Photo courtesy of otyrar.kz Photo courtesy of otyrar.kz
Foodmaster-Shymkent has been fined by environmental prosecutors, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the authority. According to the prosecutor’s assistant Yerdos Naimanbayev, the company was fined for violation of the Ecological Code under three charges: - Failure to notify on excessive dumps and discharge of polluting substances and storage of wastes; - Violation of exploitation rules and failure to use equipment for treatment of emissions and waste water (the company’s chief engineer has to pay a penalty of 95 thousand tenge ($633) personally under this charge); - Failure to comply with production and consumer wastes management and waste water disposal requirements. The fine on these wide-ranging charges totals in a ludicrous 190 thousand tenge ($1,270) with no obligations of reversing the environmental damage whatsoever. The prosecutors decided to check the company after the residents of Kok-Saiyek village of South-Kazakhstan Oblast accused the local branch of FoodMaster company of polluting the local river with caustic soda and sulfuric acid. The company explained that the pollution was caused by the accident that happened at the plant that resulted in milk wastes being dumped into the river. The company added that no hazardous substances were used in the production process. And the environmental prosecutors certified that the wastes were not harmful and no lasting damage was done. The local residents, however don't seem to support the version that the discharge of wastes into the river was a non-recurrent act that resulted from an accident. Residents of Kok-Saiyek village had repeatedly applied to the village Akim (Mayor) and representatives of FoodMaster calling them to deal with the problem but all they received a cynical advice: “When we applied to the Director of FoodMaster with a request to stop discharge of milk wastes, we were told that a very good harvest of corn is received on these wastes. Basically, we were told that we all had to go back to Khruschev times and start growing corn,” a local citizen Venera Kim said. According to the villagers, children who swim in the river the plant discharges its wastes into "get covered with sores.” “Whatever we start planting dries. Chickens die. Cattle drinks the water and get sick,” a villager Valeriy Tsoi said. The river that used to provided water for hundreds of houses and was used for cattle and vegetables is now covered with a white stinky slick foam, the local residents say. This environmental prosecutors' mockery of a fine is all the Kok-Saiyek village residents have been able to achieve so far. As for the company, it is clearly cheaper for it keep paying the symbolic fines rather then build water-treatment facilities along the river that it had promised to finish by May. FoodMaster company is a major producer of dairy products in Kazakhstan. The company currently has 4 plants, 16 trade branches and 2 milk farms. FoodMaster-Shymkent plant was established in 1998.

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