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 NIS and CECC Partner Countries > Healing the damage, protecting the future
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Healing the damage, protecting the future

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One of the many problems faced by the NIS/CEEC region is that of environmental degradation. Through a number of INCO research projects, scientists are developing the tools to limit and repair man-induced environmental damage. Environmental considerations were not high on the list of priorities when the old Iron Curtain regimes formulated urban and industrial policies. This neglect means there is now a legacy of problems to tackle including: desertification in Central Asia; and pollution of land, water courses and lakes by oil, chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive materials. These difficulties affect whole ecosystems as well as the general health and welfare of the population. Projects here offer assessment of damage and strategies for clean-up and sustainable improvements.

As well as repairing damage, INCO projects also look to improve best practice for future generations in areas that appear relatively unspoilt. Hence there is a great deal of work to provide support for the sustainable management of natural resources in Arctic coastal areas. The aim is to preserve the biological diversity of the Arctic by managing marine resources and ecosystems - and protect the area from pollution threats.

Cleaning up environmental problems

Lake Issykul-Kul in Kyrgyzstan is one of the deepest internal water basins in the world. Its tourism potential represents one of the few hard currency sources for the local population. Unfortunately, the area surrounding the lake is burdened by severe environmental threats resulting from pollution caused by agricultural and industrial activities, including gold and uranium mining. An INCO project offers an assessment and prognosis of environmental changes in the lake which affect its integrity and water mass. In a multi-disciplinary effort, scientists with knowledge of geology, physics, and hydrology are working to provide precise information about pollution levels and water mass variations, and offer a scientific framework for possible remediation.

 

Measured response to Arctic warming

Measuring precisely how greenhouse warming affects the Arctic ecosystem has proved difficult. However, an INTAS-funded project to detect and model greenhouse warming in the Arctic and sub-Arctic is offering greater understanding. Scientists from Russia, Germany and Norway have analysed a number of factors - via direct measurement and remote sensing - including air temperature, river flows, oceanographic data, and ice thickness, to provide greater insight into climatic variability in the region. Their modelling work covers the last few centuries and also offers simulations to predict future climatic development.

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Confirming the international role of community research