into the atmosphere of Dushanbe in 2018 exceeded the volume of emissions in the city in 1991, when Dushanbe was one of the ten dirty cities of the USSR
The amount of pollutants
in Dushanbe is growing at an accelerated pace compared to other cities of Tajikistan
Growth in harmful emissions
into the atmosphere of Dushanbe has been observed since 2015, which coincides in time with the increase in capacity at the Dushanbe Power Plant 2 near one of the city's microdistricts
Major chemical air polluters
in Dushanbe today are: Power Plant 2, Dushanbe cement plant, boiler houses, small workshops, and other industrial enterprises that get energy by burning coal and process and burn plastic and metal scrap
Leaving impossible to stay
Microdistrict Pervy Sovetsky belongs to one of the most hazardous industrial zones in the city of Dushanbe in terms of emissions. In Soviet times, a repair and excavator plant with emission purification filters worked here. Now, this territory is rented by a private organization that opened a workshop for the production of fittings and iron products there. The territory of the former plant is dirty and neglected. The scrap metal is incinerated without the use of any filters. On the other side of the plant, there are nine large barbecue houses. The smoke hangs over the microdistrict like over a large stove.
Emissions are produced mainly at night. Soot settles on the walls of houses. People try to dry and remove their laundry as soon as possible after washing it; otherwise, it becomes covered with a dark coating.
Residents of the makhalla, as the locals call the microdistrict, repeatedly complained about the emissions: they wrote letters and appealed to the mayor and to environmentalists. These appeals had no effect.
In 2020, according to unofficial data, the townspeople living near the plant were especially affected by respiratory diseases. Families living next to the main polluter of the city lost their loved ones here one after another.
Suraiyo Rakhimova, an allergist at the city hospital in Pervy Sovetsky, associates an increase in the number of respiratory and pulmonary diseases in her area with the deteriorating environmental situation there.
The number of patients with allergies and lung diseases is increasing. Just the way the soot from emissions settles on furniture and walls, it settles in the lungs of a person. Look, even in our hospital you can see it: soot is everywhere. We are forced to renovate our offices every year, but what can be done about the human body?"
– Suraiyo explains.
Some residents of such unfavorable areas as Pervy Sovetsky believe that the only way out of this situation is to move.
This opinion is shared by 17-year-old Maryana, an 11th grade student at secondary school No. 20 in Dushanbe. Since she was 13, she has been suffering from allergies, which began when her family moved from Khujand to Dushanbe.
Dushanbe has many sources of harmful emissions: transport, burned leaves, dust from numerous construction sites. My eyes begin to water, I breathe heavily, I get coughs and shortness of breath,"
- the girl says.
Maryana sitting on a bench in a park
Maryana sitting on a bench in a park
According to Maryana, her cough and heavy breathing intensify in winter, when the Dushanbe Power Plant 2 and the cement plant are operating at full capacity.
"In recent years, I've been catching colds often. Chronic rhinitis has developed because of the colds. I find it hard to breathe, I often have tears in my eyes because of suffocation. People will stop and ask: are you okay, do you need help? And I just suffocate," Maryana complains.
Maryana dreams of living in a city where you can walk in a park without suffocating, where clothes do not become dark with soot by the evening, where you can just breathe.
It's not that much that I want. I just want to be healthy. If everything continues like this in our city, my peers will continue to leave,"
- says Maryana.
The chief allergist of Tajikistan, professor, doctor of sciences Muhammad Juraev told about the consequences of such air quality in the country.
It's always sunny in Dushanbe
The Tajik authorities do not consider air pollution to be a serious problem. Air quality control has been complicated in recent years due to the moratorium on inspections of private businesses announced by the government of the Republic of Tajikistan. The moratorium implies a reduction in regulatory bodies and a reduction in scheduled inspections. This entails businesses' non-compliance with environmental standards and an increase in harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
The moratorium is valid from 2018 to January 2021 due to the economic situation.
Air quality control in Dushanbe is carried out by an automated air monitoring station installed on the territory of the Main Directorate of the Hydrometeorological Service of Tajikistan. The station measures air quality outside the sanitary protection zones of industrial plants that pollute the air. An automated air monitoring station is installed in the center of Dushanbe, while the major air polluters are located in other parts of the city, far from the measurement coverage area.
In addition to the automated air monitoring station, two mobile units are involved (one of which belongs to the Committee for Environmental Protection); they measure air quality right at the emission sources.