The Greening of Armenia
The featured video is a report by DW News, the global English-language news and information channel from German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Claudia Laszczak reports on the Greening of the environment in Armenia.
Environmental protection is costly. An Armenian NGO advises companies on how to make production more sustainable while keeping costs down.
Claudia Laszczak: “Poverty in the countryside, and western affluence in the capital Yerevan. Armenia is a country marked by stark contrast.”
Director REC for the Caucasus, Noune Haroutiunyan: “Awareness and knowledge are key.”
Laszczak, “Until 1991 Armenia was a part of the former Soviet Union. After the collapse of communism, the country fell into an economic crisis and still hasn’t fully recovered. Small and mid-sized companies struggle, so environmental Protection has to yield profits.”
Hakob Hakobyan (Technical Director ELBAT): “Since 2014 our new wastewater recycling unit has saved us over 100 thousand euros. |
Laszczak: “Companies here have rarely put much thought into environmentally-friendly production, but things are starting to change.”
Vardges Davtyan (President Lukashin agricultural Association): “If we reorganize our production successfully then it also makes good business sense.”
Greening in Agriculture
Laszczak: “Armenia’s economy is largely dominated by agriculture. Cereals, fruit and vegetables are the main crops. Like here at the foot of Mount Ararat, with some 3000 hours of sunshine a year, peaches, apricots and plums grow in abundance.
This fruit farmer turns his harvest into dried fruit. He switched to organic production, and no longer uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A local environmental NGO helped him make the switch. Financial support comes from the international climate initiative. The organisation advises companies about sustainable practices. The fruit farmer’s ovens are now solar-powered and have more efficient ventilation. The fruit drying process is now five times faster, saving energy and cost. ”
Vardges Davtyan: “Production in Armenia and our region isn’t big enough to compete with neighbouring countries such as Iran or Turkey. Since Armenia is a small country, it needs competitive products, fruits and dried fruits are among those products.
The dried fruit, that now has and EU Organic Certification, and these days, also sells in France.
Noune Haroutiunyan: Without any doubt its also about the person, when he starts something he wants to finalize it and finish it with a good result.
Greening in Industry
Laszczak: “Many Armenian businesses would like to get their foot in the door of European markets, but before that can happen they need to improve production standards and boost their environmental credentials. Industry accounts for just 25 per cent of Armenia’s GDP, today Noune Haroutiunyan is visiting battery factory on the outskirts of Yerevan.
By-products of the production process, sulfuric acid and lead used to end up in the factories wastewater but the company has now found a cleaner solution.”
Noune Haroutiunyan: “Not many people are necessarily analyzing or viewing the process because a business person looks on his benefits of how he runs the business and it’s not necessarily that he knows all the details on the impact on the environment.”
Laszczak: “The car battery is cooled before they’re charged. The factory now uses technology that cleans the cooling water after the charging process, so it can be recycled, along with the rest of the wastewater. Some two million euros were invested in the new facility.”
Hakob Hakobyan: “Most of the water ended up in the sewage system, so we needed a closed system. That meant the water didn’t leave the factory. this way we save huge amounts of water, which also makes economic sense.”
Laszczak: “The lead is partly recycled and waste lead re-melted, so there’s a saving of over 500 euros of material per ton, it’s a more efficient use of resources.
Meanwhile, in this bakery leftover pastry is no longer simply thrown away, it’s turned into biscuits. Sometimes the solutions are simple, any bread that isn’t sold is turned into breadcrumbs, another of the NGOs ideas and the breadcrumbs have proved a best-seller.”