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Seda Ghukasyan

Armenian Parliament Discusses Problems Facing Lake Sevan: A Mix of Guilty Charges

The Armenian National Assembly is continuing to discuss the environmental problems facing Lake Sevan.

Entitled "Lake Sevan: Problems and Solutions", the discussion was  initiated by the Prosperous Armenia (PAP) faction after a recent series of algae blooms in the lake refocused public attention on Sevan’s present condition and fate.

PAP MP Hrant Madatyan wanted to know how some 700 hectares of tree stumps, now submerged in the lake, will be removed.

Some specialists claim that forested acreage around Sevan’s shoes, now submerged due to a rise in the lake’s surface, is one of the factors that caused the algae bloom.

Yuri Javadyan, Chairman of the Committee on Sevan Affairs of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, said that it would be implemented through special platforms.

Madatyan responded that those platforms weren’t working and that huge sums of money had been spent for nothing.

"The water of those rivers has always flowed into Sevan. The water must be cleaned before the lake rises," Madatyan said.

Madatyan said that sewage water has always flowed into the lake.  "Sevan is sick today, but it does not afflict the people with its sickness,” he said.

"I swam for two or three hours yesterday and drank the water.  We’ve always drunk the water. We’re used to it. We boiled fish with that water. They use the lake water to irrigate the Ararat Valley and no one is ill," said Madatyan.

Yuri Javadyan replied that he did not want to believe there is no possibility of removing the stumps from the lake.

"The possibilities exist. They are obliged  to do so, and we will monitor the process," he said.

National Assembly Vice-Speaker Vahe Enfiajyan asked whether Javadyan, as a scientist and specialist in the field, had solution proposals.

"A nationwide struggle must be waged to clean the lake and not pollute it. It is better to prevent pollution and clean it at the same time. I believe the government and the ministry have already taken serious measures. The important thing is that the funds exist. What’s needed is the right plan,” Javadyan said.

PAP MP Michael Melkumyan wanted to know who in government was responsible for Sevan’s current state.

"The Sevan National Park agency was asleep at the wheel., Had the park worked with us, we would have a hundred restaurants instead of  the current ten. And all would have had cleaning stations," said Javadyan.

Melkumyan said that after the meeting,  he and other PAP MPs  would write to the government about the inaction of officials at the Sevan National Park agency.

"We must clarify the extent of responsibility and assess what to do with the national park," said Melkumyan.

Environmentalist Silva Adamyan, a member of the S.O.S.-Sevan Initiative, replied that her group has raised concerns about Lake Sevan's for years, but in vain.

"Now you’re saying that the national park is guilty? That’s not the case. You’re the most at fault. Your commission has done nothing," said Adamyan.

"The members of our committee are mostly directors of the Academy's Institute, who are capable and informed. We are doing extensive work.  We send the minutes of the commission to the government within three day,” said Javadyan.

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