The objective of this waste management project is “to create a hazardous and POPs [Persistent Organic Pollutants] waste treatment facility with appropriate environmental controls and to…. reduce public and environmental exposure to these now contaminated lands” by removing soil and equipment contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
The project objective will be achieved through the completion of the four following components:
These actions will be consistent with Kazakhstan’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention.
Location: The site for the treatment facility has not been chosen yet, but will be determined during project preparation based on specific outlined criteria, such as access to fresh water, chemicals, electricity and fuel, as well as requirements for trained personnel and regular maintenance. Proposed sites are located in industrial zones, away from population centers. Two sites have already been chosen for remediation to treat PCB waste/equipment and contaminated soil based on a feasibility study: the Ust-Kamenogorsk Capacitor Plant and the Ust-Kamenogorsk Capacitor Sludge Pond. A feasibility study will determine a third priority site for remediation. Remediation at all sites will be under the responsibility of the government, following the Law on the Natural Resources of Kazakhstan.
Resources needed: At the time of writing there are no plans for land acquisition, but depending on which site is chosen for the treatment facility, land acquisition and resettlement may be triggered.
Risk Assessment: Category A.
The World Bank classifies proposed projects based on the type, location, sensitivity, and scale of the project and the nature and severity of its potential environmental impacts. Category A is assigned to a project only if it is likely to have “significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented.” An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment is expected to be released in June 2016.
APPLICABLE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS
Based on World Bank documents, the following environmental and social safeguard policies are triggered:
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01
triggered because the disposal site for [hazardous]/POPs waste and the handling and transport of these materials to the disposal site will need crucial controls to prevent or mitigate environmental risks. Even though the purpose of this project is to resolve environmental hazards, a hazardous waste treatment facility is a polluting enterprise. Environmental controls such as flue gas treatment and accordance with appropriate operations are meant to minimize air pollution and negative environmental effects. A full Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) will contain the analysis of alternatives carried out at the pre-feasibility study stage, which explanation for rejecting alternative approaches examined at that stage (e.g. use of cement kiln for destruction of hazardous waste). The ESIA is also meant to strengthen regulations related to industrial hazard waste management.
Bank documents indicate that the following environmental and social safeguard policies may be triggered. As of the concept stage of this project, they are listed as to be determined:
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.12
possibly triggered due to site identification for the treatment facility. A preliminary feasibility study identified sites in industrial zones, away from population centers. However, this safeguard will be defined following the Feasibility Study that determines the site for the treatment facility.
Projects on International Waterways OP/BP 7.50
possibly triggered, depending on whether there is the possibility to impact international waterways [which] will be determined as part of the ESIA.
OUR RISK ASSESSMENT
Based on the World Bank's project documents, this project poses potential risks to the following human rights:
Right to Property and Adequate Housing
Depending on the location of the treatment facility, there is a possibility for land acquisition, thus possibly requiring resettlement.
Right to Food
Chemical emissions from the treatment facility, or from the handling and transport of hazardous waste through Component 2, may contaminate food sources. Additionally, depending on the land possibly acquired by the construction of the treatment facility, it may remove access to land or trees used for food.
Right to Water
Chemical emissions from the treatment facility, or from the handling and transport of hazardous waste through Component 2, may contaminate water sources.
Right to a Healthy Environment
Although the purpose of this project is to improve environmental conditions in Kazakhstan by removing hazardous waste, if the removal and disposal of PCB contamination is not handled properly, there is serious risk of pollution and chemical emissions. World Bank documents indicate that an Environmental Management Plan will be prepared as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in order to detail the technologies and performances required to complete the project properly. The treatment facility will destroy hazardous waste, POPs, and PCBs through incineration, and will also include at least one landfill cell. Gas scrubbing, waste water treatment, and disposal of ashes, slag, and other residues are all environmental considerations that will need to be addressed in the ESIA. Some of the possible air emissions from project activity include: carbon monoxide/dioxide, hydrogen chloride, particulates, PCBs, HCB, dioxins and furans etc. Waste water discharges and waste will also be monitored.
Right to Health
The transport, handling, and disposal of hazardous waste under the project activities all pose a risk for pollution and chemical emissions, thereby possibly having a negative impact on the health of the surrounding community.
The project calls for highly trained personnel to work on the treatment facility. As these workers will be dealing with the treatment and removal of hazardous waste, which involves working with chemicals and pollutants, precautions must be taken to ensure the right to a healthy and safe working environment.
Bank financing: World Bank. It is also co-financed through a grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF Project ID: 3982)
Borrower: Republic of Kazakhstan
Amount of bank loan or investment: $34 million from the World Bank; $10.35 million from the GEF
Total project cost: $92.45 million
Contact: Katelijn Van den Berg
Title: Senior Environmental Economist
Name: Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact: Ministry of Finance
Name: Ministry of Energy
Contact: Beibut Shakhanov
Title: Director, Waste Management Department
At the time of writing, there is little language about consultations within the project documents. However, the Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet states that as part of project preparation a “detailed stakeholder and public engagement and consultation document will also be prepared...which will include a citizen engagement and grievance system as well as the establishment of a transparent monitoring and disclosure of the works progress and environmental controls in place.” It will also be explored if “external public monitoring groups, journalist or NGOs could be involved with coverage in local media” in order to ensure transparency in the “monitoring results of the facility.” According to Ban documents, public consultations and Environmental Impact Assessments will also influence the site location.
Civil society groups in Kazakhstan have voiced concerns over the project. Public hearings in Pavlodar, the proposed site for the project, were met with widespread opposition by locals who expressed their fears about the ecological impacts of the project activity. Plans to build the treatment facility in Pavlodar were cancelled after a petition signed by 120,000 people caused the Ministry of Energy to take the views of the people into account. The public also protested against placing the facility in Atyrau, and the government responded again, now with a nuclear site as the possible proposed project location. However, there is general concern regarding the amount and quality of information available to the public on hazardous substances and industrial activities in Kazakhstan. Though the government responded twice to the public, there is still the possibility that at the third (or any subsequent) site the community will not be given sufficient information to enable meaningful participation.
PROJECT-LEVEL GRIEVANCE MECHANISMS
At the time of writing, there are no specific project-level grievance mechanisms in place. Bank documents indicate that a grievance system will be established as part of project preparation.
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF WORLD BANK
The World Bank Inspection Panel is the independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by a World Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Inspection Panel, they may investigate to assess whether the World Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can contact the Inspection Panel or submit a complaint by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the Inspection Panel and how to file a complaint at: http://ewebapps.worldbank.org/apps/ip/Pages/Home.aspx.