Blowing up the Kakhovka dam: how russian terror will damage Ukraine's ecology
After the occupiers blew up the Kakhovka dam, Ukraine is experiencing one of the worst environmental disasters since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion. Find out how the tragedy in the Kherson region will affect the country's ecology
On the night of June 6, russian troops carried out a large-scale terrorist attack, blowing up the Kakhovka dam in the Kherson region. Unfortunately, the consequences of this tragedy are irreversible. Here's how the dam's destruction will harm the Ukrainian environment.
Five days after the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, 32 settlements and 3,700 houses remain flooded in the Kherson region. As of today, 5 people have been reported dead, and 35 more, including 7 children, are missing. Although human casualties are the worst disaster of this tragedy, there are still a number of problems that Ukraine will have to face.
The Kakhovka reservoir is rapidly becoming shallow
It is known that after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, all the water in the reservoir went down the Dnipro riverbed, flooding almost all coastal areas. At the same time, the area upstream of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, on the other hand, became shallow. Some cities that depended on this dam, such as Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol, have already started to experience water problems.
And these are just the obvious environmental consequences of the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. The rest will become known in the coming years, scientists say.
What will happen to the surrounding area in the near future?
The destruction of the dam will lead to shallowing of the reservoir. And this, in turn, will stop water supply to more than 30 irrigation systems in the fields of Dnipro, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine reported.
As stated, in 2021, these systems provided irrigation for 584 thousand hectares of farmland.
What products are at risk?
For example, without irrigation, it is difficult to grow rice and vegetables because they consume a lot of water.
In addition, scientists say that part of the Kherson region will not be able to grow the famous Kherson watermelons for several years.
According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, approximately 10,000 hectares of agricultural land have already been flooded on the right bank of the Dnipro. On the low left bank, where the russian-occupied territories are located, the volume of flooding is several times larger. Some of it may remain underwater.
The water that rushes through towns, villages, and fields carries with it everything it encounters on its way, including garbage, hazardous chemicals, mines, and bacteria.
The water flow from the Kakhovka Reservoir may contain toxic industrial waste. The deposits that remain in the shallow part will dry up and be carried away by dust storms, environmentalists say.
According to the Ukrainian Environmental Protection Group, the dam's destruction has released a lot of fuels and lubricants that are toxic to aquatic life and can form a film on the water surface.
As you know, all this debris will end up in the Black Sea, which can affect various groups of living organisms, from plankton to cetaceans.
And these predictions are already coming true. According to the Security Council of Ukraine, by the middle of the day on Tuesday, June 6, at least 150 tons of machine oil had been washed into the Dnipro, and another 300 tons could potentially get into the river.
It is worth noting that as of June 10, the environmental damage caused by the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant had already exceeded 55 billion hryvnias (almost 1.5 billion dollars).
Ukraine's fishing industry is also suffering significant losses due to the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP.
The government agencies responsible for fish production have already shown a video showing a whole field of dead fish on the dried-up bottom of a reservoir near the village of Maryanske in Dnipropetrovsk region.
According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant could result in losses to the fishing industry from the death of adults alone, which could reach 95,000 tons, or more than $108 million.
Prior to the dam's destruction, there were at least 43 species of fish in the Kakhovka Reservoir alone, 20 of which are commercially important.
The death of animals
In the days following the dam's explosion, the Ukrainian authorities urged residents of the flooded regions to untie their dogs and let their pets out of their cages, or better yet, take them with them during the evacuation.
Many people did so, but volunteers still find lonely animals floating in the water or on objects. A huge number of pets were rescued in the first days after the tragedy.
At the same time, the situation in the occupied regions on the left bank of the Kherson River is much more critical. In the first hours after the tragedy, the russians did not confirm the destruction of the hydroelectric power plant, and then, when everything became clear and the water began to rise above the banks, the occupiers began to save their own lives without announcing an evacuation for citizens.
The enemy troops also caused a tragedy in Nova Kakhovka, where the private contact zoo "Fairy Tale Grove" is located. It was flooded in the first hours after the dam was destroyed. According to the latest data, about 250 animals were in the zoo at the time of the flooding, 220 of them died. In particular, goats, sheep, mouflon (wild sheep), nosuchas, etc.
Russian terrorists deliberately blew up the dam, knowing all the consequences. And the fact of the planned terrorist attack is confirmed by the Ukrainian military. Ukraine calls on international organizations to bring russia to justice and help with the environmental disaster that will now remain in the memory of Ukrainians for life.
We remind you! The Visit Ukraine team has launched an urgent collection to support the affected animals in the Kherson region. Your donations will help organizations that are urgently addressing the issue of helping furry animals. Read here how to help the affected animals.
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