Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Tajiks Say Uzbek Factories Polluting Border Area

By Sohibyor Tolibov











Residents of Zafarabad district in northern Tajikistan believe their health and crops are being harmed by emissions from factories in nearby Uzbekistan.

People are complaining of respiratory and other ailments, which they blame on chemical plants and a power station in the Uzbek town of Bekabad. 

“We’re choking, and we have constant headaches. Even the leaves on the trees are withering, and the harvest is dying,” one local resident said. “We are really asking for the problem to be addressed.”

The authorities in the area are reluctant to talk about the problem, although one official said in private that there was no environmental damage. 

Relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are difficult, and the authorities in the former may be reluctant to make waves.

Lawyer Shukhrat Qudratov believes Tajikistan has every right to make representations to its neighbour about emissions levels, and would like to see a neutral independent commission step in to establish whether there really is a problem.  

This audio programme, in Russian and Tajik, went out on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.