Towards the end of the fifth year of the catastrophe at Chernobyl, the ecological situation in a significant part of the Dniepr river basin remains alarming. The area of the basin spans 509 000 square kilometers, extending across the territories of Byelorussia, the Russian Republic, and the Ukraine, and it contains 44 km3 of water. It supplies water to 50 large towns and industrial centers, about 10 000 industrial enterprises and to 53 large irrigation systems which cover an area of 1.2 million hectares. Forty million people drink water from the Dniepr, and a total of 10.5 km3 of effluent water is poured back into the river each year. Ignoring radiation, the pollutants discharged into the Dniepr in 1988 alone included 53 000 tons of organic origin, 64 800 tons of various substances in suspension, 334 000 tons of sulphates, 336 600 tons of chlorides, 3750 tons of phosphates, 15 100 tons of nitrates, and 67 tons of phenols. Also in 1988, 20 cubic kilometers of water were taken out of the river; of these, 10.3 km3 was for industrial use, 2 km3 was used for drinking water, and 4.6 km3 for irrigation. In addition to continuous chemical pollution, the river is now polluted with radioactive substances.
KeywordsZirconium Phenol Uranium Radionuclide Silt
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