A broad consultation was conducted on June 19, 2019 at the Ukrainian Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food to prepare a project for a comprehensive monitoring system for the environmental review of the revitalization of natural resources in Minesweek to prevent further pollution of the Upper Tisza Basin. The project is implemented under the Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine Cross-border Cooperation Program 2014-2020 (HUSKROUA – ENI).
The event, hosted by Deputy Minister Volodymyr Topchiy and Lyudmilla Khomichak, Deputy Director of the Food Directorate, was represented by the Tisza European Regional Association (Principal Applicant), University of Miskolc, Institute of Science, Institute of Geology, Ukraine Geogold Kárpátia Environmental and Engineering Expert Ltd., representatives of the Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine, and Ministries and departments of Ukraine, including the Ministry of Environment of Ukraine, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, State Security Service of Ukraine, and representatives of the State Enterprise “Solerudlikvidatsiya”.
Andrea Szabóné Cap, Director of the Tisza EGTC, introduced the Tisza European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, she spoke about the formation and the activities of the organization, enhancing that the Tisza EGTC was the first territorial association between an EU member state and a third member state. He briefly presented the REVITAL I project, which was developed and submitted on the basis of a proposal from a study of the European Commission’s Consultative Delegation. The Advisory Delegation visited Transcarpathia in September 2016, thanks to the effective cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Ukraine and Hungary, and conducted a risk analysis in the Salt Mine of Aknaszlatina
The technical content of the project is dean of the University of Miskolc dr. Professor Peter Szucs and dr. László Perger, an EU tender expert, enhanced that according to the Integrated Tisza River Basin Management Plan adopted at ministerial level, the risk of accidental contamination in the Tisza river basin is significantly higher than in the Danube basin. The environmental impact on the Tisza River was caused by the catastrophe in the Aknaszlatina Salt Mine in 2008, which resulted in the salt content of the river increasing to ten times higher. In addition to the salt contamination of surface and groundwater, collapsed mines are a constant threat to the lives of people here. In order to study the problem comprehensively, the EU organized two missions in 2016 to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of the target area.
The report contains recommendations on environmental measures. REVITAL I is the first project to put into practice the environmental recommendations outlined in this report. The project has three specific objectives: to study and evaluate the current ecological status of the Salt Mines of Aknaszlatina and its surroundings using innovative technology; launching research and preparing an integrated monitoring system for checking qualitative and quantitative changes in surface and groundwater and soil distortions; raising awareness and presenting the project results at different levels. This is not only important for the local population, but is inherently problematic for all municipalities along the Tisza River, affecting a total of four countries. The project will develop a Strategic Concept that will include analysis and recommendations for relevant future activities at all levels of decision-making.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere, with Deputy Minister Volodymyr Topchiy assuring participants that they were ready to take part in close cooperation and coordination with all relevant and responsible institutions and organizations to solve the Minesweeper problem.
We thank the leadership of the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture and Food for understanding and supporting the successful implementation of the REVITAL I project, one of the most serious Transcarpathian environmental problems.