Participants in the international “Train to Copenhagen” project have crossed Western Siberia

Published November 29th, 2009 - 11:50 GMT

 A journey of international environmental experts across Russia’s railways, part of the international Train to Copenhagen project, is continuing. The project is organised by International Union of Railways (UIC) and Russian Railways, and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the WWF.

On 27 November, a presentation was given to the participants on the environmental protection activities carried out by Western Siberian Railways. The presentation was attended by Galina Bykova, the Deputy Chair of the Novosibirsk Municipal Committee for Environmental Protection, and Vera Glukhova, the Head of Western Siberian Railways’ Environmental Protection Department.

Vera Glukhova spoke about the work being carried out along the Western Siberian Railway to reduce negative environmental consequences. In the first nine months of 2009, pollution released into the atmosphere has been reduced by 393.9 tonnes and waste water disposal has been reduced by 23.6 cubic metres. This has been achieved by the construction and repair of local cleansing facilities and by introducing a water recycling system. Vera Glukhova said that future plans included the continuing construction of water cleansing facilities, moving from boilers to environmentally sound fuel, fitting pollution emitters with dust and gas filtering facilities, and introducing recycling for waste.

Galina Bykova underlined the fact that rail transport is the most environmentally friendly way to travel: “The railways do not bring environmental pollution into the cities, and there are forested zones and sanitary protection zones. Suburban rail transport is competitive with road transport, and many passengers prefer the environmentally friendly option. This reduces the pollution from car and bus exhausts in the cities and suburban areas.”

After the meeting, the project participants visited a mobile environmental laboratory at Novosibirsk’s main station. The laboratory was set up to carry out environmental monitoring.

Participants’ impressions from the journey can be read on the site

The Train to Copenhagen project is taking place as part of a global project of Russian Railways (RZD) and the International Union of Railways (UIC), with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the WWF.
The campaign, organized with the aim of marking a transition to a new generation of agreements on future global climate cooperation, began on 5 November in Kyoto (Japan) with an UIC seminar on the role of rail transport in protecting the planet’s climate system.

From 21 November to 1 December, people who took part in the seminar are travelling on a symbolic journey along the Trans-Siberian route in a special RZD carriage. The group comprises four members: International Union of Railways representative Margrethe Sagevik, and journalists John Richard Scrase (Great Britain), Roberto Laurenzi (Italy) and Rebecca Vespa (Italy).

As part of the environmentalists’ journey across Russia’s railway, stops are planned at five large cities – Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Moscow.

Each stop will give journey participants the opportunity to meet with representatives of local authorities, representatives of environmental protection organizations, and journalists, and also to see innovative railway technology and personally witness the signs of climate change on Russia’s territory.

On 1 December, a greeting ceremony will be held for participants in the environmental journey, on their arrival in Moscow.

From Moscow, the team will travel on to Brussels, where they will join the Climate Express, which will depart on 5 December from Brussels for Copenhagen.
The Kyoto protocol expires at the end of 2012. In Copenhagen, the signing of a political agreement is expected on stepping up international dialogue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

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