Many local residence complain about the bad air quality in Almaty. Mercer Human Resource Consulting scored the city 39.1, making it the 9th most polluted city in the world.
The problem is the location of the city.
Set at the foothills of the Tianshan Mountains, Almaty is surrounded by a large mountain range (which is labeled the lungs of Almaty) to the South and factories to the North and West of the city... creating a bowl where polluted air is trapped. This effect is quite visible from the mountains. From the Shymbulak gondola you should be able to see the city in the distance, but as the pictures show it is only a smoggy backdrop to the clean mountain air. Fine particles are also a problem in Almaty, which is quite noticeable when walking around town, and can frequently lead to eye irritations.
In 2011 the GEF started a sustainable transport in the city of Almaty project, with the objective to reduce the growth of transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the City of Almaty, while simultaneously improving urban environmental conditions.http://www.thegef.org/gef/node/4474
. But so far no real action is visible on the ground.
Air pollution is a serious problem in many developing countries, and can play a major factor in the health of its population. The greater the air pollution the less new born babies weight, which puts these children in a vulnerable position, according to Stephanie Lee. http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Air-pollution-linked-to-low-birth-weight-4254514.php
Children and newborns are more sensitive to the health effects of air pollution since they take in more air than adults for their body weight and consequently, a higher level of pollutants. Many families (young and old) in Almaty complain of asthma and allergies caused by the polluted air.
Much to the upset of environmental groups, a plan is being developed to construct a new ski resort in another part of the unspoiled mountainous areas of Almaty.
The NGO- Green Salvation is powering a petition against the plans to develop Kok-Zhailyau National Park. On 17 March dozens of people went to protest against the construction project by writing "Kok-Zhailyau SOS!" in the snow.
For more information please check their webpage http://k-zh.kz
(BTW- Google Chrome does a great job in translating Russian websites into English)
Lets hope that the local government and industries will take some serous action against pollution and help avoid an environmental disaster in this beautiful region of Kazakhstan.
Author - @cornelia