Global awareness and political support for saving the Mount of Kushtau in Russia

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Global awareness and political support for saving the Mount of Kushtau in Russia

This petition made change with 7,478 supporters!

Artur Bikbaev started this petition to Director-General, UNESCO Audrey Azoulay and

#kushtau #savekushtau #saveshikhans #куштау #куштауживи

A CALL FOR ACTION AND PASSION TO RAISE GLOBAL AWARENESS AND POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR SAVING THE MOUNT OF KUSHTAU IN RUSSIA
 

Russian translation (перевод на русский язык): https://bit.ly/2FYcO8S


The Mount of Kushtau is one of the remaining three unique natural monuments (Bashkir Shikhans), located in the Ishimbaysky District, alongside of the city of Sterlitamak in Russia. Kushtau is the remainder of the ancient coral reef, the Lower Permian Period (Late Paleozoic) reef massif, formed over 230 million years ago in the Tropical Sea (the Ural Ocean).
 
In October 2019 the Bashkir Toratau Geopark project was presented by the government of the Republic of Bashkortostan at the 15th Conference of the European Geoparks Network in Spain. But only two mountains (Toratau and Yuraktau) of the remaining three unique natural monuments of Bashkir Shikhans were intentionally included by the regional government into the project. The Mount of Kushtau that is located in just 16 kilometers from the Mount of Toratau was deliberately excluded from the Bashkir Toratau Geopark project squared about 4 200 square kilometers.
 
And right before that on 8th of August 2019 the exploration and mining license # УФА02472ТЭ was surreptitiously issued by the Subsoil Resources Management Department of the Volga Federal District to Commodity Company, JSC, the subsidiary of Bashkir Soda Company, JSC. It became known only on 11th of October 2019 already after the regional election in Bashkortostan and the 15th Conference of the European Geoparks Network in Spain. The license declares the Mount of Kushtau as a deposit and gives to its holder permission to explore and extract raw stuff (limestone) from over there for baking soda and soda ash production. The current license will be valid until 10th of August 2039.
 
THIS WILL INEVITABLY LEAD TO THE COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOUNT OF KUSHTAU AND ENORMOUS, IRREPARABLE DAMAGE OF THE SURROUNDING AREA, ITS GEOLOGICAL, BIOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE.
 
Unfortunately, we already had such a horrific experience. The Mount of Shakhtau, one of the four formerly existed in the 20th Century unique natural monuments of Bashkir Shikhans, has been already completely destroyed under severe recourse extraction started in early 1950s. Today there is a giant open pit instead of the beautiful Mount of Shakhtau and huge sludge collectors or so-called the “White Seas” – tremendous 460 hectares areas of industrial waste storages.
 
This time we cannot allow the repetition of those terrible events.
 
This time we cannot allow the Mount of Kushtau to repeat the sad fate the Mount of Shakhtau.
 
This time we stand up and call for action and passion to raise global awareness and political support for saving the Mount of Kushtau in Russia.
 
THE UNDISGUISED TRUTH IS THAT THERE ARE ALTERNATIVE DEPOSITS TO KUSHTAU AND/OR ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY TO THE SO-CALLED SOLVAY METHOD THAT IS BEING USED BY BASHKIR SODA COMPANY, JSC.
 
AND THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOUNT OF KUSHTAU IS JUST THE EASIEST AND CHEAPEST OPTION FOR BASHKIR SODA COMPANY, JSC TO OBTAIN AUXILIARY STUFF OF LIMESTONE FOR ITS BAKING SODA AND SODA ASH PRODUCTION.
 
Even the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights after its field meeting that took place in the Republic of Bashkortostan on 25-28th of March 2019 underlined this undisguised truth of alternative deposits and technology. The Council also insistently urged to include Kushtau into the National Park of Bashkir Shikhans (Kushtau, Toratau and Yuraktau). This is also confirmed by scientists and sustainable best practices across the world.
 
According to UNESCO the Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
 
The destruction of the entire ancient relict mountain as an easiest and cheapest option to extract auxiliary stuff of limestone is completely unsustainable, unecological and unnecessary way of development.

This will lead to deliberate and inevitable demolition of GEOLOGICAL and BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, HISTORICAL and CULTURAL HERITAGE. This also discriminates and violates the indigenous peoples' collective rights and makes things even worse for already underserved distant and vulnerable communities in Bashkortostan.
 
This is widely supported consensus that the Mount of Kushtau must be saved. And the unique area of all Bashkir Shikhans (Kushtau, Toratau and Yuraktau) must by backed by bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities.

In connection with the foregoing and taking into account sustainable development goals, we call for:
 
1)   Global awareness and political support for saving the Mount of Kushtau in Russia;

2)  Immediate withdrawal of the exploration and mining license # УФА02472ТЭ issued by the Subsoil Resources Management Department of the Volga Federal District to Commodity Company, JSC;

3)  Urgent governmental protection of the Mount of Kushtau by granting the mountain a status of specially protected natural territory;

4)   Mandatory inclusion of the Mount of Kushtau into the national project of Bashkir Shikhans (Kushtau, Toratau and Yuraktau);

5)   Russian Government, UNESCO and all other Russian and international organisations in charge to consider only all Bashkir Shikhans (Kushtau, Toratau and Yuraktau) as a single, unified geographical area with its international geological significance and biological, historical and cultural heritage that must be managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

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This petition made change with 7,478 supporters!