The environmental challenges facing the Ladoga Lake and its tributaries were discussed last May in Moscow at a conference co-hosted by Green Cross Russia’s North West office and the Leningrad Regional Government. It was noted that pollution stemming from industrial, agricultural and utility enterprises operating in the region were responsible for a recent and dramatic decrease in the quality of water throughout the North West Russian lake system. In fact, the scale of these problems is such that the efficiency of action at a local level is severely limited. The conference was thus convened in order to bridge regional and federal governance, and to devise a national plan of action. The conference was moderated by Yuriy Shevchuk, chairman of North West Green Cross. It was widely attended, including by representatives of the Russian federal government, the Leningrad regional government, the federal parliament, scientists and civil society activists.
The main outcome of the conference was a resolution stressing the urgent need for legal environmental protection of the Ladoga Lake and its tributaries. Highlights from the bill include an acknowledgement of the social and economic significance of the lakes, a protected watershed for the region, and steps to ensure greater collaboration between regional and federal government to protect the lake system for future generations. A draft bill was elaborated by North West Green Cross and presented to the Leningrad regional government at the end of 2017. It has since been amended and hearings in the state parliament are set to begin in early 2018.