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Moscow Region Chokes on Noxious Landfill Fumes

Two officials face charges in one town as protests against bad air from other dumps run on.

11 May 2018

Two officials in the town of Balashikha, on the outskirts of Moscow, have been indicted for violating ecological regulations in their management of the town landfill, according to Kommersant.


Balashikha is just one of nine towns around Moscow where protests are ongoing against landfills locals say are making children ill, Sky News reports.


Local opposition to the dump in Balashikha may have received a boost from President Vladimir Putin. Town residents called Putin during his annual call-in marathon last year and told him the disposal site was situated at just 200 meters (0.12 miles) from local homes, kindergartens and hospitals, The Moscow Times then reported.


Landfill in Volokolamsk. Image via


Some of the loudest complaints are coming from the town of Volokolamsk, where several dozen children were hospitalized on a single day in March, with complaints of dizziness and nausea, hours after a large emission of gas from the nearby landfill, Meduza writes.


On the popular social media platform VK, inhabitants of Volokolamsk are calling for a new protest tomorrow. They demand the closure of the landfill.


In Kolomna, local residents are blocking roads to stop trucks bringing in garbage from other cities, especially Moscow. Six protesters were arrested Monday in the town, which is located southeast of Moscow, Novaya Gazeta reports.


Alexei Kiselev of Greenpeace Russia told Sky News that Moscow has plenty of biogas installations and recycling facilities to tackle the waste problem. However, he says that the authorities lack the political will to do so, because it is much cheaper to just dump the garbage in landfills.



  • Moscow produces eight million tons of waste a year, which amount to 20 percent of all of Russia’s garbage. Some 90 percent of that garbage is dumped in landfills, Sky News says.


  • The waste problem is not the first hot-button ecological issue in the Moscow region. In 2010, large protests took place against the construction of a motorway through the Khimki Forest near the capital.

Compiled by Wasse Jonkhans

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