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Armenia Green Issues
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A broad public discussion of environmental problems began in the mid-1980s, when the first "green" groups formed in opposition to Yerevan's intense industrial air pollution and to nuclear power generation in the wake of the 1986 reactor explosion at Chernobyl. Environmental issues helped form the basis of the nationalist independence movement when environmental demonstrations subsequently merged with those for other political causes in the late 1980s.
In the postcommunist era, Armenia faces the same massive environmental cleanup that confronts the other former Soviet republics as they emerge from the centralized planning system's disastrous approach to resource management. By 1980 the infrequency of sightings of Mount Ararat, which looms about sixty kilometers across the Turkish border, became a symbol of worsening air pollution in Yerevan.
In independent Armenia, environmental issues divide society (and scientists) sharply into those who fear "environmental time bombs" and those who view resumption of pollution-prone industrial operations as the only means of improving the country's economy. In the early 1990s, the latter group blamed Armenia's economic woes on the role played by the former in closing major industries.
In 1994 three national environmental laws were in effect: the Law on Environmental Protection, the Basic Law on the Environment, and the Law on Mineral Resources. The Council of Ministers, Armenia's cabinet, includes a minister of the environment. However, no comprehensive environmental protection program has emerged, and decisions on environmental policy have been made on an ad hoc basis.
Encyclopedia of Earth / http://editors.eol.org/eoearth/wiki/Armenia
Photo Credit: Marc Cooper