Ukrainian NGO UAnimals to hold national cleaning march in conservation areas
On September 16-17, 2023, the humanist movement UAnimals will hold the All-Ukrainian Cleanup March — large-scale actions in five national parks and reserves where animals are suffering and dying due to littering and ecocide caused by Russia's full-scale invasion.
What is the problem?
Ukraine's Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources reports that the war affected 20% of nature conservation areas. Over 23,000 tons of greenhouse gases were released into the atmosphere by fires caused by Russian shelling. The hostilities affected 600 species of animals and 750 species of plants and mushrooms. 120 dolphins also died in the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea. Emissions of polluting substances turned out to be catastrophic. Total losses have already reached $4.2 billion. This amount currently does not consider the direct damage caused by the Russian forces destroying the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.
What is the solution?
In 2022, UAnimals launched the #StopEcocideUkraine international campaign, which included hundreds of demonstrations in different countries. The movement addressed the UN with an official statement and called it to create a special tribunal on Russia's environmental crimes. Although there are not many mechanisms today, activists favor their creation because this situation has not yet existed, so the solution must be completely new, and Russia must bear the punishment.
Now, as part of #StopEcocideUkraine, the organizers are turning the March for Animals, which, since 2017, has been held every year throughout Ukraine, into a practical event — the All-Ukrainian Cleaning March, because the ecocide caused by the invasion of Russia requires radical actions.
"From the first days of the full-scale invasion, we set out to save animals from war. We understand that the consequences of ecocide, which Russia causes, are terrible: the destruction of entire species of animals and the environment. This year, we want to make the march not only a symbolic but also a practical event. All-Ukrainian cleaning march is our way to take care of endangered animals," says Oleksandr Todorchuk, founder of the UAnimals humanist movement. "After the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant explosion, beaches full of garbage were exposed, in which animals get tangled and suffer. Until now, hectares of territories are polluted with plastic, which animals eat and die. Also, many parks far from the war zone are littered and need attention. We have to step up and clean up these parks and turn to the world community with a call to punish Russia for ecocide and help Ukraine cope."
How does it work?
For the first time, UAnimals will hold an All-Ukrainian cleaning march in protected areas. On September 16-17, UAnimals volunteers will gather simultaneously in five protected locations.
"Clean up the garbage and protect the animals" is the main slogan of the march. The activist will clear up Holosiivskyi National Nature Park, Kyiv, National Nature Park "Buzkyi Guard," Mykolaiv region, Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Khortytsia National Reserve, Zaporizhzhia, and Uzhanskyi National Park, Zakarpattia region.
Activists of every city can join the All-Ukrainian cleaning march. Detailed information is at the link: https://march.uanimals.org/
UAnimals encourages other organizations and anyone who cares to hold a cleanup march in their city or town as long as it does not violate safety regulations.