Let Us Protect and Rehabilitate the River Chyngul!

Grant Recipient

"Spilka Druziv Pryrody" (Association of Friends of Nature) Tokmatska Regional Children's Environmental Organisation
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Project Leader


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Sergiy Ivko

Contact

Shevchenko St., 35, Apt. 39
Tokmak town, Zaporizka Oblast, 71700
Tel: +38 06178 21577, +38 06178 20991
E-mail: ivko@tokmakcity.net

Goal

The implementation of practical activities to improve the environmental state of the River Chyngul and its tributary, the River Kurkulak, by involving the authorities and population in the project.

Objectives

  • to organise practical activities to improve the environmental state of the west-bank tributary of the River Molochna - the River Chyngul - and its small tributary - the River Kurkulak; to conduct educational environmental activities among village schoolchildren and the population in general;
  • to disseminate information about the urgent environmental problems of the small rivers in Zaporizka Oblast among the inhabitants of the local villages and the towns of Tokmak and Molochansk, as well as to demonstrate practical ways to solve the problems through various environmental activities (planting trees, collecting rubbish, clearing up streams, etc.), through conducting research and educational expeditions, showing demonstration films on environmental topics, and giving lectures and talks to schoolchildren;
  • to publish a booklet, "The River Chyngul. Past, present and future…";
  • to conduct polls among the local population and authorities aimed at defining their level of interest in improving the environmental state of the rivers;
  • to conduct an ecological assessment on the subject of the reconstruction of a part of the bed of the River Chyngul;
  • to make and install information posters in the "Floodplain of the River Chyngul" reserve of local importance.

Project Area

Zaporizka Oblast

Results

An enquiry was conducted among the local population and authorities in order to identify their level of interest in improving the environmental state of rivers

A sociological inquiry was conducted among residents of Tokmak city and surrounding villages and representatives of the authorities; Zhovtneva Village Council and children from Chervonogirska Secondary School were involved in the activities. Residents of riverside villages as well as citizens of Tokmak and representatives of the authorities were questioned. In total, 200 people were consulted. The results of the questionnaires were as follows:

  • 100% of respondents noted that the river had become shallower recently and often dried up;
  • 21% considered the reason for this to be communal rubbish thrown into the river; 20% (mainly old people) – cutting of trees and bushes, 29% (mainly old people) – the establishment of ponds and dikes; 29% (mainly those who live very close to river) – cattle grazing, ploughing and canalisation; 30% did not answer this question;
  • 22% (mostly schoolchildren) considered those guilty of degrading the river to be local residents; 63% – the authorities, 9% – holidaymakers, 6% – the police and inspection services;
  • 71% considered that environmental problems should be solved by conducting large-scale activities involving the public; 5% (people’s delegates to the Rayon Council) – by the local authorities’ being more proactive; 17% (representatives of the village council, land surveyors, farmers) – by the integrated use of both the above-mentioned methods; 3% considered that everything was fine as it was; and 4% did not answer this question;
  • 17% (representatives of the authorities) considered that the situation could be improved by changing national environmental legislation and raising public awareness; 14% (school pupils) – by environmental education of the population and authorities; 69% – by increasing the financing available for environmental activities;
  • 60% (mainly schoolchildren, young people and some pensioners) wanted to make their own efforts to improve the situation at the river without further discussions; 40% (mainly those involved in agriculture, representatives of the authorities) – thought that activities should be carried out in people’s own leisure time.

 

A booklet about the small rivers of Tokmak Rayon was published and disseminated

In order to provide more information to the population about river problems in Tokmak Rayon, a booklet entitled "River Chyngul: Past, Present, Future..." was published (circulation 500 copies). The booklet was disseminated to schools, City and Rayon Departments of Education, the Rayon State Administration, Zhovtneva Village Council, libraries and at large events (concerts, the "Zorepad 2003" festival). Some copies were disseminated within Zaporizka Oblast (State Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Zaporizka Oblast, Department of Family and Youth of the Oblast State Administration, NGOs and the Oblast Regional Museum).

 

Environmental education lessons were given in village and city schools

The organisation prepared four lectures about the problems of small rivers. For this, they used information from the website of the Ukrainian Rivers Network about the state of small rivers, their regimes and dynamics, causes of degradation and ways to improve the situation (authors: Lesya Zub and Galyna Karpova). Via Departments of Education, lectures were disseminated to geography teachers in Tokmak city (eight schools in total), Zhovtneve and Chervonogirka villages, and the city of Molochansk. Lectures were given to 5th and 8th-grade pupils during geography lessons about their native land and the physical geography of Ukraine, as well as to children in other classes during civics lessons. In Chervonogirka and Zhovtneve villages, lectures were combined with educational excursions to the River Chyngul and River Kurkulak.

 

Practical activities were organised to improve the state of rivers

During autumn 2003 and spring 2004, 1,690 trees were planted on the banks and floodplain of the Rivers Chyngul and Kurkulak. New gardens were established on the floodplain of the Chyngul, and residents of Chervonogirka (where the source of the River Chyngul is located) and schoolchildren were invited to plant trees there. During 'Environment Day', children from Chervonogirka School planted about 900 trees in the protected area on the floodplain of the Chyngul. A "Celebration of the Environment", with a theatre performance and festive meeting, was organised in the school, with 54 schoolchildren present (grades 1-9). An analysis of the state of trees planted during 2004 showed that the trees that did best were elms (94%) and maples (65%). Almost 100% of fruit trees took root in the garden and on the floodplain. Among ash trees, only those that were planted some distance from the river survived (only 97 of the 750 ash trees planted survived). One of the reasons for this may be that in spring the grass was burnt off along the river bank, and the trees dried out, therefore educational activities among the population should be devoted to explaining the inadvisability of burning off as a technique for drying plants and canes.

From October 2003 to April 2004, practical activities were undertaken to improve the state of the River Chyngul and its floodplain. Three large rubbish dumps were removed (requiring 18 huge trailers) in Chervonogirka, Sadove and Zhovtneve villages. In spring 50 trees were planted in Chervonogirka village, where the rubbish dump had been. Unfortunately, because the trees had to compete with wild grasses at this site the activity did not achieve the expected results as, apart from the maples, the majority of the trees did not take root. This led to the conclusion that it is better to plant maples at former rubbish dumps due to their high resistance to competition from wild grasses. In Sadove village, children, young people and other residents now try to keep the river and areas around river clean. At the site where the rubbish dump had been, they plan to establish a small garden.

 

Information posters were set up in the "Floodplain of the River Chyngul" protected area of local importance

The "Zhovtneve" communal enterprise produced information posters; the first was installed near the "Floodplain of the River Chyngul" protected area and another was set up at the River Kurkulak. The posters inform the citizens about water-protection zones and rules of behaviour within them.

 

During project implementation, information was given to the city newspaper, "Our City, Tokmak", the city and rayon newspaper, "Visnyk Tokmachchyny" (News of Tokmak Rayon), and the Oblast newspaper, "Subota plus"; information about project implementation was also given on the radio.

The main achievement of the project was that the attention of the local population and authorities was drawn to the river's problems. After the rubbish dump was removed, residents of Sadove village contacted "Spilka Druziv Pryrody" to complain that even after the dump had been cleared city residents were still bringing their rubbish to the same place, making a new rubbish dump. The villagers who formerly used the rubbish dump here are now protecting the site.

 

 
© 2005 Ukrainian Rivers Network
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