What is the cause for the degradation of environment?
Capitalism, corruption, consuming society? - OVERPOPULATION!
Please, save the Planet - kill yourself...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fire at the "Krasny Bor" (a lanfill for hazardous waste)

There was a fire at the landfill for hazardous waste "Krasny Bor". First of all it is not a big secret that hazardous waste is being "incinerated" (of course it isn't proper incineration, it is just an activity to free some space for a new waste) there, so specialists were not surprised that a fire occurred.

It is interesting and revealing that
"specialists of Rosprirodnadzor became aware about the fire at the "Krasny Bor" landfiil via mass-media"
LOL... but actually it isn't fun at all...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

3 cool events of the week

There were 3 very interesting events on this week (during my official vacation):
  • a Russian - Finnish workshop dedicated to our project related to management of hazardous part of household waste.
  • An "International" conference named "An Environmental Equilibrium"; and...
  • OSM mapping party in Volhov town.
A workshop passed as always: Russians posed themselves as know-all persons (despite no one was prepared because all the materials were in English...), talked a lot but ineffective; and Finnish did the real job. For the first time in my life I had to be a parallel Russian-Finnish and a Finnish-Russian translator. A hard job, I have to admit...

"An Environmental Equilibrium" conference (which first day I missed because of the workshop) exceeded my expectations... a little, actually, but nevertheless. The funniest thing was that the first face I saw when entered the lecture hall was the face of my scientific adviser, who new that I will participate but didn't tell me that he will be a participant too O_o. He leaved quickly so we were unable to talk.

There were not as many people as expected (because of the summer time and a poor feedback from organisers, who didn't provided participants with the time table in advance, I suppose the main part of scientists who sanded papers preferred to be somewhere else) - organisers even had to merge together all the sections because of the lack of speakers. The good thing was that the publications were ready and I was able to enjoy my article on the subject of illegal dumping monitoring at St. Petersburg with implementation of high-resolution satellite imagery. The bad thing was that my scientific adviser had already left the conference when I demonstrated my presentation.

An unexpected finding was that the map in my Garmin, which expected to be fresh, had a poor an outdated information about location of the conference and OSM was also poor, but up to date.

OSM mapping party in Volhov was my first mapping party. Despite there were few  participants (actually if there were more of them I wouldn't be able to participate at all because in that case party would took place a week earlier, when I was on vacation in Narva... and mapped it; collected data became more important due to imagery for Narva won't be available soon) and heavy rain (from time to time) we were able to survey western part of town.

After 2 hours of mapping we gathered at the cafe to discuss our survey. I've made an attempt to find an answer for the the question about mapping managed green areas, but it seems that I'm the only one who care.

The most unpleasant part was an attention from drunken ex-prisoner in cafe, who started to ask questions about our activities and then begged for money for beer. In Narva my wife and I brought attention of the local drunkards while survey too...

In the end we had a nice attraction on board of Zverik's jeep - a survey of the Russian roads ;-)

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Current situation map (click to enlarge)
I decided to acquire a diploma of The Baltic University in Sustainable Town Planning (master course). We had a practical task to study a district of St. Petersburg of our choice. Spatial planning is inconceivable without maps. But for every map you need a source and if the information in this source is incomplete you have to add it yourself.

A noise pollution map (click to enlarge)
The plan was borne quickly. I already had a GPS (because if you are a geographer it isn't cool not to have one); I was aware of the OpenStreetMap existence and already used its data provided by GIS-LAB.info as a complete project for QGIS. All I needed is to take look at the district at OSM, add needed information to OSM and simply download ready to use base map from GIS-LAB.info.

Of course it wasn't that simple (there were tagging issues in OSM, missing objects in ready to use projects, and the project had to be significantly customised), but in the end chosen district became one of the most detailed in St. Petersburg and I was able to create cool maps ;-)

As a conclusion I would suggest for the spatial planning lecturers to use this practice of OSM utilisation through contribution for the student's practical tasks: they will improve their GPS skills, their work will be useful for other people (OSM will became more comlete), also students will learn something about Creative Commons licenses and will learn how to attribute their maps properly. 

Map for development (click to enlarge)

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Environment" TV-broadcast: a garden on the roof

Excursion on the roof (prof. Berg is in the centre)
This time broadcast was mainly about the possibilities of the gardening on roofs of the city.  There were an excursion for Russian and Swedish students to the unique roof garden in St. Petersburg situated at Pulkovskaya st., 9 k.2, near Zvezdnaya metro station. Swedish students were led by prof. Berg from University Uppsala, who is the founder of Sustainable Town Planning master course for The Baltic University A Regional Network

a green house
I supposed to take an interview with prof. Berg, but due to issues with TV-team and professor's hour late arrival the plan was ruined. But still we were able to visit this garden on the roof. By the way, the professor was in the cowboy hat - I've never seen any professor in a cowboy hat before)))

There are some clickable pictures here, they will demonstrate how this garden looks like.
a random view

another random view

a random view again ;-)

Back to the broadcast. The guest of the studio was an expert in land management related legislation and a director of something))) Unfortunately I don't remember his name, but I wish I wrote it down. This guy will be the head of the Committee for Environmental Safety and Natural Resources in two or three month (of course he will - he is a member of talent pool and has a sighed recommendation from Gryzlov himself).

The committee "suffer" a loss of its top management due to corruption scandals (one was caught by the hand violating the law and another wasn't able to explain how it is possible that his expenditures are far above his incomes). I'm glad that corruptionists were banished, because this committee was the worst place to visit. I know it for sure: they've emptied a shit tank on me... twice. The last time I was there, Delarov (the one who wasn't able to explain expenditures) tried to extort money from me for the information on illegal dumping in Leningrad region.

Hope the committee will have a brighter future now.