Cement democracy, or a story of KSMK-3
The enterprise “Tsentrbeton Ltd.” (old name is KSMK-3) which specializes on storage and distribution of cement and coal, production of concrete and claydite-concrete, started its activity in 1998 in an immediate proximity of the residential houses located on Bokeykhanov street (Almaty, Kazakhstan). The nearest land lots turned out to be located within the sanitary and protection zone of the enterprise. The local residents were deprived from the normal conditions necessary for life and rest. Their houses and yards are constantly being covered by dust. The cement dust enters the soil and damages their home garden plants.
For many years, the people are seeking to be resettled from the sanitary and protection zone of the enterprise. But both, the public authorities and the enterprise owners, ignore their claims. In 2000, the people addressed a court, but were not able to find justice.
In 2004, Mrs. Gatina L., Mr. Gatin A., and Mrs. Konyshkova L. addressed the Aarhus Convention’s Compliance Committee with a statement that the Republic of Kazakhstan does not comply with the requirements of the article 9 about access to justice.
In 2005, the Committee examined the statement. It was admitted that Kazakhstan did not provide effective measures of legal protection in the process of consideration of the Gatins lawsuit. Public authorities did not provide a compliance with the environmental legislation. In their turn, the courts did not inform the parties about the time and place of the hearings in a proper way, nor did they inform about the decisions made. All the above mentioned is “a failure to comply with the requirements of the provision 4 of the article 9, and provision 3 of the article 9 of the convention”.
But even after the Committee’s decision, no corrections were made by the authorities. Meanwhile, the “Tsentrobeton Ltd.” continued to increase its production volumes. Annual freight turn-over is confirmed by the conclusions of the state environmental assessments:
in 2000: cement – 6,000 ton, coal – 2,000 ton,
in 2003: cement – 52,650 ton, coal – 48,400 ton,
in 2004: cement – 62 562 ton, coal – 48 400 ton.
And in 2007: cement – 317 360 ton.
In 2008, the residents addressed the court again. Their lawsuit contained the following demands:
- to recognize as invalid the conclusion of the state environmental assessment dated on February 27, 2007, conducted by the Almaty City Territorial Department of Environmental Protection;
- to require the Akimat of the city of Almaty to suspend the economic activity of “Tsentrbeton Ltd.” until its site facilities are in a full compliance with the requirements of the legislation.
On February 11, 2009, the court made a decision about recognition of the conclusions of the state environmental assessment to be invalid and obliged the public authorities to suspend the economic activity of the enterprise.
The defenders appealed against the court decision, but the people are determined to continue the fight for their rights.
September 14, 2010.
Translated by Tairova Sofya