“We cannot open the window because of the bad smell”: the mobilization of Sumgayit’s residents against pollution

It was decided to appeal to President Ilham Aliyev through a petition organized by the citizens themselves.

Industry and air pollution (source: shutterstock/RoengritKongmuang)

Residents of Sumgayit have had problems with the factories around the city for some time now. The smoke is so intense that it darkens the days and leaves an unpleasant smell in the air. In addition, there are also problems with the city’s open dump, which is always burnt for reducing its size.

Such activities expose the residents of Sumgayit and other close residential areas to air pollution, decreasing their life-quality and their health.

Sumgayit resident Aynur Aliyeva reports that such problems have been going on for years, but have recently increased. She said it was impossible to open the window during the last summer’s months because of the smell and the dust residues coming from outside.

The situation has already been reported to public power authorities. However, from the local executive power to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, nothing has been done yet besides fining the industries – which does not stop the polluting activities.

Tired of this degrading situation, on September 14, residents of the city launched a campaign to collect signatures with the support of the eco-activist group Ecofront. 1,013 signatures were collected in a petition explaining the citizen’s demands and sent to President Ilham Aliyev.

They ask President Aliyev to instruct Sumgayit’s city administration to stop any operations in the open dump, to build infrastructure for continuous air quality monitoring and to create an online platform to make the results of the monitoring available to the public. Aliyev should also support the establishment of goals and action plans for the coming years to improve air quality.

Aynur Aliyeva no longer believes that the pollution issues can be resolved through fines, monitoring, and court proceedings. She hopes something will happen if Aliyev takes the lead of the case, assuming that “the President will not turn a blind eye to the destruction of a city and its people”.

Ana səhifəFeatured“We cannot open the window because of the bad smell”: the mobilization of Sumgayit’s residents against pollution