Kazakhstan may face environmental disaster after the floods

Photo credit: Gaisagali Seitak/Kazinform

The weakening floods in the region are now leaving the country with their aftermath, says Maxat Tolykbay, a deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, informs Kazinform News Agency correspondent.

According to Maxat Tolykbay, who expressed concerns about the environmental impacts of the flooding, “Today, I want to address the cleanliness issue because floods can lead to epidemics. We built dams using thousands of bags and polyethylene film to protect against flooding. If we don't collect these materials after the waters recede, we will face an environmental disaster. Moreover, the floods have brought debris, and corpses of wild and domestic animals. If we don’t disinfect these remains, the risk of disease spreading will come," Tolykbay stated during a plenary session of the Mazhilis.

The people’s representative also referenced the "Taza Qazaqstan" campaign, recalling the President's sentiment that this should not just be an occasion to create appealing videos for social media.

"Looking beyond Western countries, even the cleanliness of our Uzbek neighbors is commendable. Such cleanliness doesn't just appear on its own. It begins with the individual's responsibility and effort to maintain it. Regardless of the efforts from organizations tasked with this, if people continue to litter, there will be no result", he remarked.

The deputy also pointed out that areas like the Altyn Orda market near Almaty are heavily littered.

"People often litter by throwing cigarette butts from cars, leaving waste at stadiums and cinemas, and even in places like national parks. Some even dispose of trash from their apartments into hallways. We need a shift in mindset and must elevate cleanliness as a core societal value", he commented.

Tolykbay proposed several measures to the Government to foster a culture of cleanliness:

- Develop a comprehensive program to promote cleanliness throughout society;

- Local executive bodies should not only improve but also maintain territories under their jurisdictions and create green spaces;

- The Ministry of Education must introduce "Environmental Awareness" classes for secondary school students.

In addition, Yerlan Sairov, deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, emphasized that the catastrophic floods underscore the urgency for substantial reforms locally. "After this situation is resolved, significant reforms on regional development should be initiated. The ultimate goal of these reforms is to enhance public control and delegate more powers to the akims (regional governors)”, says Sairov.

Although the akims were given a month to acquire inert materials and create small reserves, none took the initiative to do so. “The inaction comes from their reluctance to work and make decisions. Therefore, it's crucial to not only enhance the powers of the akims but also to reinforce public oversight. This approach is necessary because managing everything centrally from Astana is impractical”, the speaker concludes.

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