accounts for 25 percent of the country's total gross domestic
product (GDP). Eighty percent of production in the country comes
from four industries: engineering and metalworking, food processing,
chemicals, and petrochemicals.
affects the functioning of the major enterprises
that contribute to the national economy, thus damaging the country's economic potential as well as its environment. Pollutants also reach Belarus from neighbouring countries via
rivers or the air. In addition, there are many unresolved
environmental problems associated with previously irresponsible
Scientists have linked
the following environmental problems to industrial activity: air pollution; the pollution of surface water and groundwater; soil pollution and
degradation; and waste generation.
- Since 2009, Belarus has produced an annual average of 34.656 million tonnes
of waste, 68 percent of which are halite residues and
clay-salt sludge generated by the potash industry.
Potash mining and subsequent waterlogging in the Salihorsk area have led to the accumulation of approximately 780 million tonnes of
halite sludge, causing
noticeable changes to the landscape of the Pripyat River basin.
heaps containing toxins are subject to wind and water erosion, which
lead to the salinisation and contamination of fresh groundwater and
surface water sources, including private and hydrogeological wells.
Salt dumping and the storage of sludge from the Salihorsk potash mines have
affected groundwater at a depth of 100 m over an area of 15
km2, and the scale of
the damage is expanding. Subsidence of the Earth’s
surface leads to earthquakes: the village of Pogost
in the Salihorsk district experienced an earthquake on March 15, 1998, that reached an intensity of 5.0. Statistical data since 2009 indicate higher than average levels of morbidity
within a 20 km radius of mining areas.
Belarus is responsible for up to 25 percent of all emissions
released into the atmosphere within its territory. It also
produces 34 percent of particulate emissions, 32 percent
of nitrogen oxides, 23 percent of volatile organic compounds,
and lesser amounts of sulphur dioxide and heavy metals.
emissions are associated with the electric power industry, lead
emissions with the production of building materials, and cadmium
emissions with the engineering and metalworking industry.
Gas and dust
cleaning systems capture more than 2.5 tonnes of pollutants each year,
with an effectiveness rate of 82 to 88 percent.
The quality of air in monitored cities can be regarded as normal:
concentrations of priority pollutants are generally below
maximum permissible concentrations.
concentrations of total particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide
exceed maximum permissible concentrations only in some cities.
The number of hotspots in terms of air pollution in industrial centres fell by 22 percent between 2007 and 2009.
There has been a
steady decline in levels of formaldehyde emissions in most monitored cities.
concentrations in the atmosphere are steadily decreasing, although
nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the air have risen 1.2 to 2.0
times in some cities.
particulate matter have risen by 1.2 to 2.1 times in cities in the Gomel region (Gomel, Mozyr, Rechica), as well as in Vitebsk and Grodno.
Belarus has a
sufficiently developed legal framework in the field of environmental
protection and the rational use of natural resources:
- Despite high rates
of economic growth, Belarus has reduced pollutant emissions and has
achieved a relatively stable environment through funding for
Regulations aim to encourage economic entities to reduce their environmental
impacts by reducing energy and resource
consumption, and to adopt preventive measures to ensure
Environmental Monitoring System is
one of the main drivers of state policy in the field of