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    Quality Drinking Water Scarce In Ukraine


    by NTDTelevision

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    In Ukraine high-quality drinking water is hard to find and there is less every year. Environmentalists are calling for action, reminding Ukrainians of the alarming rates of water pollution.

    Despite the large number of rivers, Ukraine is one of the most water deficit countries in Europe. Each year the rivers are becoming increasingly polluted.

    [Vasiliy Shevchuk, Former Minister of the Environment]:
    "88% of the rivers in Ukraine are in a catastrophic state. And, unfortunately, the over-use of rivers, and damage to the river banks leads to the rivers being unable to cleanse themselves [of pollution]."

    Over the past decade, almost 20,000 small rivers in Ukraine disappeared. At present, the total number of rivers in the country is around 73 thousand.

    Environmentalists say they estimate almost one in ten Ukrainians have access to polluted drinking water, including concentrations of chloride, nitrate, ammonia and other chemicals.

    The most polluted are basins of the Dnipro - the third largest river in Europe, which serves as the main source of drinking water for Ukrainians.

    The cause of water pollution is agriculture, but mostly - the industrial sector. Some companies refuse to implement water treatment facilities.

    [Vasiliy Shevchuk, a former Minister of the Environment]:
    "Companies began to save on sewage treatment plants in the pursuit of profit, and sometimes - just out of the desire to survive. [For this] they cut off water treatment facilities."

    Ecologists say the most polluted water is in the east of Ukraine, with levels sometimes reaching 80% over what's considered good clean drinking water.

    NTD, Kiev, Ukraine