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Environmentalists attack Sochi 2014 construction projects

Tensions are growing in Russia as environmental groups grow increasingly dissatisfied with projects attached to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC) claims the Dzykhra river in the Sochi National Park was turned black with pollution in January following a mudslide at an illegal construction waste dump attached to a road project.

The mudslide on 7 January saw “tens of thousands of cubic meters” of waste enter the river, EWNC said. The river flows into a reservoir, which is now also polluted.

The river has been “utterly destroyed by waste from drilling tunnels and building the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana road” .

EWNC said waste continued to be brought to the site for another week following the incident. The river has been “utterly destroyed by waste from drilling tunnels and building the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana road”, the group said.

It also said German contractor DrillTec and and Russian construction firm Stroygazmontazh have been dumping drilling fluid – from an Olympic project to build a pipeline from Dzhubga to Sochi – on a hillside, where it runs “down the Akhun mountain through the territory of Sochi National Park, [and] straight into the Black Sea”.

EWNC uploaded a video of the drilling fluid being dumped, as activists watched, to the internet.

Energy company Gazprom said: “The project has obtained positive conclusions from the State Environmental Expertise and the State Environmental Expertise Department (Glavgosekspertiza).”

EWNC said the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) has failed to act on environmental agreements regarding Sochi. Greenpeace Russia said its consultations with UNEP have been “useless”.

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