2021 February 23

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Feb/23/2021: (1) Lake Sevan quality & bio-filters (2) IDEX weapon expo: Armenian manufacturers get contracts (3) Armenian jet "hijacked" from Estonia to Iran (4) Pashinyan interview. Re:Serj/Kocharyan, Amulsar=yes (5) Trial of Kocharyan & Gonzalez: kidnapped club owner (6) Foreign affairs (7)Protest
by ar_david_hh


Your 20-minute Tuesday report in 5001 words.

Azerbaijan violated UN resolutions / Foreign Minister Ayvazyan during UN Human Rights meeting:

Azerbaijan violated the Security Council's Resolution 2532 and launched large-scale military aggression against the Artsakh population, by taking advantage of the global pandemic.

The use of force to suppress the right to self-determination is a violation of UN conventions, which state that all international disputes must be resolved peacefully.

The Azeri leadership did not hide the fact that their goal is to eliminate the Armenian trace from Artsakh. Atrocities were committed by Azeris, Turks, and the terrorists hired by them.

Azeri state officials circulated videos showing the torture of ethnic Armenians, which are akin to ISIS practices. Those who committed the crimes later received rewards.

To this date, Azerbaijan has not fulfilled its commitment to return all POWs.

The lack of UN presence in Artsakh allowed Azerbaijan to act in this manner. Humanitarian aid to Artsakh should be apolitical and be based on human rights principles, regardless of geographic location.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044212.html , https://youtu.be/HP6pZZgPWZQ

Azerbaijan wasn't ready for peace / Foreign Minister Ayvazyan about past negotiations:

Azerbaijan had repeatedly proved that it was not ready for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, each time coming up with a last-minute demand with new preconditions.

There have been periods of hope in the past when it seemed to everyone that the parties were very close to reaching an agreement. It is not OSCE nor Armenia to blame for failures. I can refer to the Kazan documents. At the last moment, Azerbaijan made it clear they weren't ready for peace. They had been preparing for war for a long time.

(Statement made during an interview with journalists, after the aforementioned UN meeting): https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044229.html

Foreign Minister Ayvazyan about POWs:

The topic of POWs is our top priority. We work in various directions, 24/7. The international pressure grows. Azerbaijan's practice of intentionally delaying the POW repatriation is becoming a headache for them.

We are hopeful that Azerbaijan will abandon this policy of hostage-taking and will immediately provide a positive solution to this crucial humanitarian issue.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044225.html

Defense Minister meets female officers

MOD Vagharshak said the role of women in the army is important, during a meeting with female military academy graduates. There will be routine meetings from now on.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044244.html

1000plus.am Soldiers' Fund reveals stats

Armenian workers make a mandatory monthly contribution from paycheck to 1000plus.am, the official fund that helps wounded soldiers, and families of deceased soldiers.

To this date, the Fund has received ֏32B from mandatory payments, and ֏9B in donations (80% of which came after the war).

To this date, the Fund has helped 1528 families, 1111 of whom after the 44-day war.

֏12B ($23M) has been spent after the war so far. Some aid is one-time, while others are monthly.

They have a new aid program called "Bridge" for soldiers who sustained heavy wounds, and families of missing soldiers. This program allows wounded soldiers to receive help immediately, without waiting for official aid, which would require a lengthy process to receive the status of a disabled.

"Bridge" has aided families of 803 missing soldiers so far. They receive ֏300K for 6 months. There were initially 1,600 missing soldiers but the numbers continue to decline as the DNA identification of bodies and POW repatriation continues.

55 heavily-wounded soldiers receive the ֏300K/mo aid.

--

1000plus.am: We had a new program called "Let's Double". It allowed employers to double/match the contribution fees paid by workers. Many employers joined this program during the war, however, it had some negative consequences. Some businesses, which would often donate large sums, thought that it was no longer needed to donate separately.

We have another program called "$50 challenge". We aim to find 1 million people who can pledge to donate $50/mo. Over 1,000 donors have joined.

Another program is a donation of $2,000 every year, for 3 years.

We rely heavily on diaspora because local workers have already seen their mandatory payments increase progressively, based on salaries.

We will launch another program soon. A donor pledged to donate $100,000 if the Fund can find 100 diasporans who can donate a combined $500,000.

(Daily reminder that Elon Musk earned $1 billion in a month by trading bitcoin)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044238.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044253.html , https://factor.am/340996.html

Russia sends humanitarian truck convoy to Artsakh

50 tons of construction materials are being shipped to help locals rebuild their homes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044224.html

Pashinyan's interview to 1in.am / war & aftermath / trade unblocking / Amulsar will likely operate / weapons purchases / Artsakh negotiations

We are in the process of overcoming the aftermath of the war. In general, we have internal and external challenges today, both associated with security. This is why immediately after the war I launched the agenda of ensuring stability in and around Armenia. The clarification of Syunik borders will make Armenia more secure by involving CSTO in the event of military actions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044293.html

There are no problems that cannot be solved in settlements on Syunik borders. There is a system of certain security guarantees in Syunik. The tensions caused by the new reality will subside over time, especially since we plan to launch massive socio-economic infrastructure projects in Syunik.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044295.html

Every country is interested in lifting the trade blockade in the region. It can bring long-lasting peace to our region, in addition to economic benefits to Armenia. After the January 11th meeting in Moscow, the talk began about resuming Abkhaz railways, and about connecting the Black and Caspian seas with railways.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044296.html

Azerbaijan wants to use POWs as a bargaining chip. That's inappropriate. The November 9th statement applies to all prisoners, regardless of when and how they were captured, so it doesn't matter how Azeri authorities label the POWs from the Khtsaberd incident. We should continue the work without causing a deadlock. We have a real possibility to resolve this. There are regular trilateral meetings. It's another question on when it will be resolved. 69 POWs have returned home already.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044298.html

(About Kocharyan's claim that had he been the leader, Armenia would not have lost the war.)

Any individual, who was not the leader during September-November, could have made such a statement. We must understand the deep origins of the defeat. If this is a defeat that had its origins in the last 2 years, then let's record that and prove it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044301.html

(About Serj's criticism that Iskanders weren't used on the 4th day of the war.)

Perhaps the rejected person [Serj] should explain why the Iskander did not explode, or only a fraction of it did? [referring to missiles being of low quality]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044302.html

We offered to hold snap elections but the opposition rejected it. They are now using it as a platform for radical activities. It could lead to the worsening of security internally and externally. This is why, after receiving a rejection, I decided to return to the implementation of the Roadmap I proposed on November 18th.

We aren't giving a hard rejection to snap elections. We could still hold it, but if a large portion of opposition is against it, it defeats the purpose of holding the elections.

Those politicians, who use the most vulgar language against the public today, realize that it is not a good path for them, so they choose radicalization over elections.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044299.html

We implemented 17 programs as part of the November 18th Roadmap. It's important to note that we've spent ֏23B on Artsakh projects. It'll reach ֏50B soon.

We're also doing projects in Armenia, in Syunik. Aid for soldiers, families, etc. We're drafting a bill about a large-scale mortgage subsidy program for bordering settlements.

In the first 1H of February, the trade turnover increased by ֏44B YoY. This is before the pandemic. That's a 13% increase. And in 2020 February, we had a big increase over 2019 February.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044300.html

We increased military expenditures by ֏50B (+23%) in 2019. One of the first actions was the increase in the combat readiness of troops.

Q: is it because you knew the war was inevitable?

We can look back and see what Serj said in 2018. He said that the negotiations had stalled and we cannot hope that Azerbaijan won't attack. The negotiations had reached a deadlock. We could no longer hope that Azerbaijan wouldn't attack.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044304.html

(About Serj's claim that he needed to be elected as Prime Minister in 2018 to implement the Lavrov Plan, the giveaway of 7 regions.)

What did prevent Serj from doing it sooner? And where are the guarantees he would actually do it? And why didn't he announced it publicly from the Parliament floor? Instead, he was saying we don't have time and war can start any moment. How many missiles did we have in the Spring of 2018?

Anyone can claim that had they been given 3 more days, they would have resolved a problem. But we have an entire history of negotiations in front of us. They [Serj/Kocharyan] came into power in 1998. They saw that it was reckless to give away lands for a phased resolution (Armenia gives lands, gets nothing, gives more lands, maybe or maybe not gets a status).

No negotiation package existed after 1998 that did not talk about the return of 7 regions to Azerbaijan. This was the bare minimum. That was the priority.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044307.html

(About Serj's criticism that Pashinyan did not recognize Artsakh independence during the war.)

The question is not whether Armenia recognizes it, the question is whether the international community would recognize it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044307.html

(About accusations that Serj's weapon purchase plans were altered by the Pashinyan administration.)

There were no changes in the weapons and equipment purchase plans. Those who were making such claims ended up publicly retracting the claims. It's also important to understand what the former General Chief of Staff said. OK, we write on paper that we intend to buy weapons, but from whom? Some purchases can be interpreted as hostile by allies. Many nuances here.

When I became a Prime Minister, I appointed a Defense Minister (Tonoyan) who was a long-time Deputy Minister. He was the only person in my administration who also held a title in the Ministry under the former administration.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044304.html

Back in 2018, there were felony investigations launched over weapon purchase processes. There were massive contracts that weren't delivered. If we arrested everyone, the fate of those dozens of billions of Drams would remain unknown. Instead, we demanded them to deliver the products.

Second. If you have a bad channel for purchasing weapons (Patron Davo, recently charged w/delivering bad product), you cannot close it until you find an alternative delivery channel.

There have been dozens of felony cases in the army since 2018.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044305.html

(About Serj's claim that he wanted to pass the rule to Karen Karapetyan and not Pashinyan in 2018.)

It's the public who decides whom the power is transferred. Who was the reject [Serj] to transfer power to someone?

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044306.html

My stance hasn't changed over Amulsar, but there is a big chance the mine will operate. I have always emphasized the security that the mining industry brings to our economy.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044308.html

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207395

Tags: #interview #PashinyanInterview #PostWarInterview

bill to reform Economic Competition Commission / educate the business / free consulting to avoid violations / statute of limitations / anti-collusion

The Commission has recently busted several businesses with colluding to fix prices. The Commission drafted a new bill to better regulate the field. It has passed the preliminary hearing in Parliament.

Commission member Marcosyan: to prevent violations, we will provide free consulting to a business if they aren't sure if some of their actions would be anti-competitive. There will be public information campaigns to educate businesses and the general public about competition.

The reforms will ensure predictable and efficient enforcement. Businesses often do not understand what they are accused of violating. Sometimes our investigation concludes that the business did not violate the rules, so the case is dropped.

After the reforms, a petition to investigate won't automatically launch an investigation. The Commission will launch a preliminary hearing to find signs of violations, before launching the main investigation.

During the investigation, if the business confesses to wrongdoing, they will receive leniency by paying only 50% of the penalty.

Under existing law, a violation has no statute of limitation. Something done in 2003 could become a subject of investigation today. The reforms will introduce a 10-year statute, or possibly shorter.

Question: will there be felony punishment or harsher penalties for violators?

The existing law already has felony punishment for some anti-competitive practices. Currently, an action is defined as a felony, regardless of the outcome. The reformed law will take into account the damage/profit after the illegal action, and define an act as a felony based on that.

If there are no large ֏1-5M damages, it won't be a felony. We aren't adding more felony cases. We are ensuring the businesses by making the law more clear.

Question: then why do some businesses complain about this bill?

Maybe they haven't read the bill, or they aren't familiar with the existing law, or they just don't want to acknowledge the positive change. We expect constructive suggestions from them.

Question: sometimes businesses collude with each other to manipulate the market. Will the new bill fight against it?

Anti-competitive agreements are the most serious violations. It can be done verbally between two individuals without a way for us to tell what they agreed on.

In the bill, there is an opportunity to initiate operative-investigative measures by the Commission. The Commission will contact [law enforcement], which may or may not result in an investigation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044168.html

Tags: #EconomicCompetition #Competition #CompetitionReform

2020 stats: economic crime busts

Prosecutors: we recorded fewer economic crimes last year. 844 cases, which is -10% YoY. However, there were 16 more cases that were sent to court.

The workload has not ddecreased. 23% more open cases were transferred from 2020 to 2021.

We counted ֏20B in damages to the state. Collected ֏2.5B of it. Froze additional ֏13.5B in assets.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044228.html

police accountability

Today the Disciplinary Committee fired 5 cops and issued a warning to 2 others for various types of inappropriate conduct.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207376

a jet registered in Armenia is "hijacked"

There was a report that a Boeing 737, which was registered in Armenia, was "hijacked". It allegedly flew from Estonia but instead of landing in Yerevan, it decided to land in UAE to fix technical issues but had to land in Tehran for emergency reasons, according to a preliminary report.

Armenia's Civil Aviation said they are working with multiple countries to investigate. They know where the jet is. They learned that the jet had no passengers; there were only pilots who were foreign citizens. The flight was technical in nature. The flight and landing info are still being investigated.

Another expert, Suren Sargsyan, claimed that the jet was sold to Iran under unknown circumstances.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044235.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044261.html , https://factor.am/340939.html

tenno no tanjobi

Japan celebrates Emperor's Birthday. President Sarkissian called to congratulate Emperor Naruto.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044226.html

COVID stats

2872 tested. 166 infected. 231 healed. 4 deaths. 4366 active.

The US embassy donated infrared thermometers to be used by Education Ministry on 500,000 students.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044214.html , https://factor.am/341236.html

Hamshen Armenian song Քուզիմ Նէննին, by Nare Gevorgyan

https://youtu.be/I8tSu4FX7MQ

a book will be published about Byurakan Observatory

... dedicated to Observatory's 75th anniversary. It'll be the first of its kind and written in cooperation with international scientists, said director Areg.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044250.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044257.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044281.html

Armenian weapon manufacturers found customers during IDEX-2021 expo in Adu Dhabi

Reporter: There is great interest in the Armenian side. There are many visitors holding discussions with the manufacturers.

Weapon producer: we had a productive day today. We agreed with 3 companies to launch joint production in Armenia. Full details later. Today we agreed to sign a memorandum with the URAL-Vagon factory. We will produce items jointly with the Russian company and buy components from them.

Second weapon producer: we made agreements with Belorussian optics producers. Another agreement over missile shells and complex devices. We might have a joint production in Armenia. They've been invited to Armenia's ArmHiTech to sign a memorandum.

Third manufacturer: we met many old friends to present them our new products. We had [logistics delivery] issues earlier but we took steps to find alternative ways to present our products.

Fourth manufacturer (Davarro?): we forged important ties and presented our products. There was great interest in Armenian drones. We'll try to develop the ties.

https://youtu.be/H8unn4LwCqY , https://factor.am/341049.html

Serj's nephiew Franklin Gonzalez trial / ֏5M racket collections / bodyguards sentenced

Serj Sargsyan's nephew Franklin Gonzalez (Narek Sargsyan) recently confessed to several crimes. He asked the court to expedite the trial.

A victim from the nightclub industry was present during the trial today. He claimed Gonzalez used to travel around and "collect" ֏5M from clubs. "They kidnapped me for a day to prevent the operation of the club. I was assaulted by [Gonzalez] and his bodyguards. This is a proven fact, the bodyguards were tried." He complained that the authorities did not press those charges against Gonzalez.

Gonzalez's three bodyguards were earlier sentenced to prison time but were released for time served, combined with Pashinyan's 2018 mass amnesty.

https://youtu.be/k8kS95fyVNw , https://factor.am/341172.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207379

rumors and rebuttals: former regime continues to circulate false data about war casualties

Former HHK Justice Minister Arpine Hovhannisyan claimed 10,000 people had amputations as a result of the war. As a fact-checker notes, as of January 2021, the total number did not exceed 150. All of them will receive modern prosthetics with the help of a new lab and Dutch expert.

9094 people were injured/wounded during the war. Total confirmed deaths are 3577, and it's expected to increase as more bodies are discovered.

https://fip.am/14811

Kocharyan's trial delayed again / lawyer's no-show / Prosecutor wants sanctions / Judge is fed up

Kocharyan and co-defendants are going through the March 1st trial. They have been intentionally dragging the process since 2018 by using various means, such as not showing up, making repeated claims for judge's or prosecutor's recusal, etc. As a result, the trial has not yet reached the phase where each side presents hard evidence to make their case.

Today the trial resumed but was immediately suspended again because one of the defense lawyers was a no-show. The defense claims it's not their fault because the lawyer warned last time that he had another trial to attend to on that date. The judge responded by saying "you know that these March 1st trials are always on Tuesdays. You can contact Appeals Court."

The judge decided to issue a warning. The lawyer will be held in contempt (disrespect) of court if he misses the trial without a valid excuse. The final decision to handle the lawyer's absence will be made on March 2nd, so the trial has been delayed again.

Prosecutor about the delays: It cannot continue like this. We are dealing with abuse of law. The defense turned the entire trial into a discussion on why the trial began 20 minutes late.

The judge had found out that the other trial, which the defense lawyer was supposed to take part in, did not take place [so the lawyer could have attended this trial]. The defense, in turn, criticized the judge for making efforts to learn details about the other trial's status.

Another defense lawyer about delaying accusations: the defense has not violated any laws. We haven't submitted similar petitions about the same topic. There are 4 defendants, and each one of them can submit petitions.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044247.html , https://factor.am/341082.html , https://youtu.be/_fAK96MakW8 , https://factor.am/341097.html

opposition resumes protests / circles govt building / police makes arrests / Pashinyan sneaks into Nature Ministry building

As promised yesterday, ARF and other activists allied with the former regime encircled the government building this morning to prevent Pashinyan from entering the Nature Ministry facility for a session. "The citizens have gathered to show that Pashinyan has no public support in the country," said ARF co-leader Gegham Manukyan.

By afternoon, 25 people were detained in front of the building for ignoring police orders. The opposition complained about police brutality and breaking someone's foot. The police responded saying one of the detained individuals fell sick and an ambulance was called. The doctors diagnosed "left calf sprain". An investigation is launched.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044220.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044251.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044267.html

Azatutyun media outlet says the former regime activists attacked its crews and equipment during the protests. There have been several attacks against this outlet, which is often an anti-former regime in its coverage.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044303.html

Non-former-regime opposition LHK Marukyan criticized the non-parliamentary (former regime) opposition: "When Pashinyan offered to meet and discuss snap elections, you vehemently rejected elections organized by Pashinyan. You even cursed anyone who would agree to such a thing, by using your experts and media outlets as a mouthpiece.

Two Parliamentary opposition parties met Pashinyan and informed him that the opposition demand isn't the organization of snap election, but his resignation. On February 7th, the ruling party said they'll delay the issue of snap elections until June.

After all this, the non-parliamentary parties today accuse us - the parliamentary opposition - of being the ones to prevent the Parliament from being dismissed.

Dear friends, please make up your mind about what you want: snap elections? Resignation? Resignation then elections?"

https://factor.am/340953.html

QP MP Alen: the opposition [former regime] knows very well that in the event of snap elections, the ruling party will win again. That's why they rejected the elections. Pashinyan has the highest rating among politicians. Vazgen Manukyan has ended his political career; they just don't want to tell him not to upset him.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044239.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/207321

Despite the opposition's efforts, Pashinyan was able to sneak into the Nature Ministry building. "The problems of the environment are most acute in the 21st century. It must be stated that any activity of human civilization is in some ways anti-environmental. The consensus of modern civilization is that the rational use of natural resources is inevitable," began Pashinyan.

He noted that Armenia is by far not in an ideal shape when it comes to environmental standards, "but at the same time, we cannot suspend the economic activities in Armenia."

Nature Minister Romanos: illegal fishing dropped by 75% as a result of enforcement. 265 fishers caught 205 tons of sig per legal allowance, since September. This allows them to legally export, too. We intend to improve the fight against illegal fishing soon.

It's been two weeks since we resumed the removal of 1,600 buildings that were built too close to lake Sevan. Three dozens were removed.

Sevan has the highest water levels in the past 5 years.

We still have high levels of illegal deforestation (it increased in 2020). A new round-the-clock monitoring and economic aid for residents are being discussed.

We restored 123 hectares of forests in 2020. We expect this number to triple in 2021. We're discussing the implementation of the "10 million trees" project that was canceled in 2020.

We plan to count the number of animals and create a database. The hunting industry will be reformed; hunting farms (տնտեսություններ) will be formed. We're taking back 16,000 hectares of lands with wildlife that were given to private entities in the past.

An online ticket system will be introduced for Khosrov Forests.

Businesses operating on Lake Sevan shores will pay 15% tax to Sevan National Park.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044240.html , More https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1044268.html

water quality in Lake Sevan / what do regular tests reveal? / trash and chemicals in rivers / biological and mechanical filtering stations

aww, isn't that cute?

Global climate change finally reached Armenia in 2018, when the population woke up to realize Lake Sevan was green. It was "romantic" green, lots of couples took wedding photos, but the algae-filled water quality was no laughing matter.

That is partly because people and factories dump their day-to-day trash and chemicals into the rivers that pour into the lake. Some pollutants serve as "food" for algae, which turns the lake green and endangers the ecosystem.

what to do

Solution one. Raise the lake levels to increase its protective/cold layer to act as a natural barrier against algae. To raise the levels, you have to make sure you don't make things worse by submerging nearby forests and facilities, thus increasing more "food" for algae. To fix it, the government sharply increased the Sevan shore cleanup operations in 2019, while the buildings that were built illegally too close to the shores were told to "get lost". The work continues.

Solution two. Improve the quality of rivers that pour into the lake. In 2019, the government said they're working with European and Japanese experts, which could lead to the installation of biological (not just mechanical) filtering stations. Restaurants and other businesses on the shores were told to install drain/sewer mechanical filters.

Hetq outlet investigates water quality:

Sevan's blossoming became the #1 environmental concern since 2018. One of the reasons is the unfiltered chemicals brought by the rivers. A warmer climate also made algae growth easier.

Due to Lake Sevan's water-level reductions in the past, the Big Sevan section's cold layer (hypolimnion) was completely destroyed. This cold layer was acting as a shield against biomaterials and algae. In comparison, the Small Sevan is deeper, so the cold layer partially survived. This is why Big Sevan blossoms more. There are also more rivers that bring more pollutants to Big Sevan.

sounds fishy

Another pollution contributor is the fish breeding industry. There was a plan to create multiple artificial breeding facilities in Sevan (it's a big net with fish floating in the lake), but the government agreed to one facility with 12 nets.

The facility operator says the environmental activists were upset when they learned about its toll on the lake water quality, caused by excretion, nitrogen. etc. However, he says there are many pig farms on the lake shores, and when the farmers clean the area up, it all goes into the lake, and "the entire fish facility does as much damage as 4 pigs do," said the fish-man.

prove it, fish-man

Scientists won't take his word for granted. Beginning in 2018, the National Academy of Sciences cooperated with German experts to take water samples in fish facilities once a month to more accurately assess the impact.

In 2019, the German Helmholtz Nature Protection Center and its Armenian colleagues discovered high levels of phosphorus in the fish facility during one of the tests. "The question is, how much does this localized area affect the entire lake. It could be negligent." No such widespread examination has been done yet.

բայց ինչ քաքլան լակոտ դուրս եկաք

The rivers that pour into Sevan are trashy and contain human waste. This is by far a bigger problem than the fish facility. When it comes to climate change, we cannot control the weather, but we can control the pollution.

The rivers' quality is regularly tested. It's either excellent, good, average, unsatisfactory, or առավոտը որ կռանթի ջուրը բացում ես տռուբի համը գալիս ա (class 1-5). The classification takes into account the temps, oxygen level, biomass, metals, chemicals, etc.

Nature Ministry tests the river quality every 3 months, in 19 different observation sites located on rivers Dzknaget, Masrik, Sotq, Karchaghbyur, Arpa-Sevan Tunnel, Vardenik, Martuni, Argichi, Dzakqar, Shoghvaz, and Gavaraget.

The data from 2015-2020 shows that the quality has never been Excellent (Class-1). The best was Class-2. Details here: https://youtu.be/fUKO_G80agk

(more in the link below).

It appears that the cleanest was Dzknaget (originating north-west of lake), with almost all readings being Class-2. Masrik (south-east) became very polluted beginning in 2017. Usually, the quality gets worse as the river gets closer to the lake because it encounters more human waste along its journey.

Gavaraget river delivered a big surprise with a positive score, while experts had predicted the opposite.

In almost all examples, the independent environmental organization's tests showed cleaner results than the ones conducted by Nature Ministry. "The discrepancy could be due to testing devices. However, we did not test for all of the pollutants tested by the Ministry. These pollutants could have reduced their scores [narrator: you are onto it, Sherlock]."

some filtering stations do exist, but they are mechanical

7 settlements dump sewer into rivers, while only 3 of them have a mechanical filtering station that removes large pieces of waste. Experts say every river needs not only a mechanical but also a biological filter.

The German expert Dr. Karsten Rinke from the aforementioned Helmholtz Center said that wastewater produced by each individual contains enough phosphorus to turn 20,000 m3 freshwater into low-quality water full of cyano-bacteria.

what should the government do?

First. Resign (Source: Vazgen).

Second. The modernization of filtering mechanisms should be the top priority, believes the German expert. Some of the collected waste could be reused in agriculture.

Settlements must have dedicated sewers so the waste won't pour into rivers or even worse, get mixed with spring waters in lower layers.

Gegharqunuq province has 57 settlements, but only 5 of them have sewers, with only 3 having mechanical filters. These mechanical filters don't make much difference because they don't filter-out chemicals with tiny particles.

real cleanup stations

Lately, the emphasis has been on filtering stations immediately on Lake Sevan shores. In 2020, the Nature Ministry asked businesses on the lake's shores to install filtering stations. As of right now, 7 large businesses have installed one. Nature Ministry also met businesses that produce filtering stations to negotiate.

In 2020, Nature Ministry announced plans to install biological filters in 3 large settlements: Gavar, Sevan, and Martuni. A Gegharquniq official recently mentioned that they are working with the German KfW bank to receive funding for the biological filter's construction.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/127287 , Karsten Rinke https://hetq.am/hy/article/121074

Tags: #LakeSevan #SevanWater #WaterQuality #Algae #SevanQuality #poopfilter

donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older news

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/lqu02z/feb232021_1_lake_sevan_quality_biofilters_2_idex/

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