Illegal extraction of amber in Ukraine ever since Euro-Maidan revolution has gained the scale of a disaster. However, taking into account many Ukrainian civilians, as well as the international community even do not have a clue that Ukraine is unadmitted world leader of illegal extraction and export of amber, around 300 tones per year is produced. It need hardly mention that this leadership does not contribute to the federal budget at all.
On the territory of Ukraine it is now functioning independent from Kyiv an organization called «Amber Republic» consist of Rivne, Volyn and Zhytomyr regions, which are also called «Lunar creater» due to their similar lifeless landscapes. The monetary resources derived from the ember production arrive on the accounts of the very tiny number of those who are holding the key positions in the political party «European solidarity» and power unit – the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, but other environmental risks are distributed through the population. Herewith the part of monetary funds derived from amber production were allocated for sponsoring the presidential campaign of Petr Poroshenko.
Most of amber production in Ukraine is held illegally, the mineral resource is exported to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and then smuggling to China and Japan not paying state fees and taxes. Meanwhile the annual income from this absonant activity is expressed $ 230-300 millions.
The local citizens of «Amber Republic» extract the resource both with dry sizing (simply digging with paddles the giant pits in the forest 10 metres depth) and with hydro trunking using motor pomps when amber is self-washing out of interiors.
The most beneficial areas are traditionally taken by the gangsters. Forests are full of big digging settlements who use building machinery and even stolen military equipmnent such as APC, IFV, military tractors, etc.
It is also worth mention that this activity patronised by the Ukrainian National Guard, which leaves scanty quotas on amber extraction for the locals, usually these are the remains after «industrial-scale» production.
According to the locals Olevsk district of Zhytomyr Region is famous for murders. Also there were cases of «accidental» deaths by drownings in the deep pits or sand avalanches. There is no official statistics provided, as crimes are not registered and not detected, but victims bones are buried just on-site, in so-called «amber pits».
Illegal amber is usually purchased in dollars by the gangsters on-site. One kilo of small gram stones costs from$ 400 to $ 800. Price for 10 kilos (stones weighting 10-20 grams) cost $ 1800. The rest prices are presented on the picture (on the right).
The dozens of hectares of cone forests in Ukraine are digged. In some areas it mostly resembles an ant-hill with diggers working. The nature suffers from this invasion. Barbarian pits destroy the landscape, the digged trees are falling and forest becomes a sand desert.
The main problem of amber production in Ukraine is when using the method of hydro trunking the land should to be resoiled after it. However illegal diggers do not implement recovery efforts, leaving these «lunar craters» where horrors can be shoot, clay and sand desert with pits and craters, filled with water.
In 2018 in Rivne region it was found over thousands of hectares. Considering that half of the region is supposed to be perspective in relation to amber production, there is a serious ecological threat.
Another problem is the risk of radiation poisoning. The point is that the area of active amber production (Rivne, Volyn and Zhytomyr regions) are among the most suffered regions for radiation poisoning as a result of Chernobyl disaster.
Diggers using the method of penetrating fluid method derive out the cesium and strontium contaminated sand and water, thus even more contaminate the surrounding territories with radioactive species.
The are few cases of amber production in Chernobyl zone. In 2018-2019 the diggers explored this territory cautiously. However eventually the number of risky diggers is growing.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.