HUMUS: THE PROJECT
“The liberation of the
nuclear energy has changed everything at the point that our natural way of
thinking has become obsolete. We have to face the risk of a tremendous
catastrophe. Humanity will have to adapt a new way of thinking in order to
This letter is addressed to anyone who’s closed to Chernobyl’
subject matters and more in general to international co-operation.
Lately in the whole world
a great spirit of solidarity has developed especially towards Chernobyl
There are thousands of them now
coming from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus who are hosted every year.
These children thanks to a nourishment based on healthy food during their stay
abroad lose some of their radioactivity accumulated in their body and
responsible of many diseases linked to contamination due to radionuclides and
According to some ONU
experts the worst part (eventhough the victims are more than 100.000) still has
to come and it’s foreseen around 2004/2006 when those who were little children
at the moment of the accident will start procreating. Only at that moment
consequences on the genetic heritage of the population will be evident.
Consequences which in part have been shown already during studies carried on
birds, swallows and rodents who lives in the contaminated areas of Chernobyl (we
now that men and rodents behave genetically almost in the same way).
These experiments, some of them led by a group whose head is prof. Jeffreys
(Nobel winner in Genetics) have led prof. Hillis (from Texas University) to
conclude an article published on “Nature” the 26th of April 1996 with
these exact words: “today we know that the alteration power of a nuclear
accident can be much more serious than what has been expected so far and that
the genoma of eucariotes can present mutation rates which no one had never
expected to be possible until now”.
accident is just starting now to show its tragedies.
After 17 years the awareness of how the foresights, which wanted
to go back to the accident consequences and explain it only as a dramatic
irradiation syndrome, has been the result of a minimilization philosophy or
negation of the effects of the nuclear disaster (only the cases of thyroid
cancer, those which go back to the high irradiation syndrome ) show this aspect:
within the beginning of the new millennium 1500 cases of children thyroid
cancer had been foreseen 6600 within 2600. Today instead they are even more than
Now many scientists and experts are demonstrating that weak doses or claimants
without any link with radioactivity are assuming new re-considerations. The
neurological disorder of adults caused the increasing number of colon, rectum,
lung, breast and urinary ways cancers, heart problems and diabetes.
Not only sanitary problem emergency needs to go back to this under esteem of the
reality of contamination but also all the problems concerning economic,
demographic and social aspects.
Indeed Alexander Lukashenko himself, standing as ONU belarusian president, last
Sept 2000, asked the world community to face all the catastrophe consequences.
What shall we do?
Every association, group working in the welcome field or in twin and local
co-operation projects with the countries affected by the nuclear disaster has
developed a series of exciting initiatives.
All the projects try to intervene on the variety of aspects of the people who
live in the contaminated territories: humanitarian helps (food, medicines,
sanitary apparatus, clothes, stationery, toys, computer instruments,..)
distance adoptions, Kolchoz economy development,…
Each project has its own dignity, legitimacy and its strong
They are always criticised though because they do not get at the bottom of the
problems of the population who live in contaminated areas, that is the need to
abandon definitively these territories which don’t and won’t grant for years
sufficient conditions of life quality. Apart from the social and psychological
problems linked to this modality, all the projects are (with different results)
the expression of a solidarity participation which tries to conciliate feelings
and intelligence in a way of concreteness.
The approach is not that of looking for answers to questions like: ”why people
keep living over there?”. Such a question presumes an implicit accusation act as
the people who live in these contaminated territories was responsible for it. As
everybody knows, especially those who spend their time with passion and
idealism, personal, human and material resources in the Chernobyl areas
afflicted by the accident, the contamination responsibility of the territories
is not the people’s who still live there.
To overcome the prejudice point of view or the guilt assignement means to ask
ourselves the following ethical questions:
the acceptance and the observation of the present reality is known to everybody
how can it be possible to help effectively those who live in contaminated areas
? How can it be possible to find solutions to pull down the risk and raise in
the reality and levels of life quality?".
The considerations which come up are the following:
The interventions to hit the target must be contextual
within the action range. To intervene consequently at the effects caused by
the nuclear accident means to look for the real causes which depend on the
present contamination. To intervene on the contamination effects means to
intervene directly and/or indirectly on the social, psychological, sanitary,
economic, ecological aspects linked to the contamination reality; to
intervene, instead, on these aspects without giving account to the
contamination reality means most of the time to create the conditions for a
“masking” of the real problems or for the construction of alibis to enter the
action’ subject (who helps and who's helped).
The co-operation must overcome the optic of
assistancialism without the taking of possession of the reality on the
supporter actors ‘side (that is the population who live in the contaminated
areas) each action remains prisoner of the contingency and of the urgency of
dictating the way for a real change. Surely the way for a co-operation is much
more difficult than the undifferentiated help but it’s the one that, with
humility and patience it is worth to look for.
It is statistically and scientifically proved
that beyond all the hypothesis and considerations that can be legitimated
the reality of the contamination is linked especially and directly to the
nourishment. Other suggestions lead to the wrong track. 70% of the
irradiation dose coming from Cs 137 and from Sr 90 goes from the soil to the
The contamination nourishment chain is the
From these assumptions theHUMUS PROJECT
was born which in the following paragraph is presented in its general
The HUMUS PROJECT, like many other projects, wants to be an instrument
of shareness in order to intervene in a concrete way on the contamination
reality. An instrument which tries to react on the primary prevention soil
of the accident consequences.
The HUMUS PROJECT is a Legambiente Solidarity project.This
is an intervention field of Legambiente the most important environmental
voluntary association of Italy. Who the project belong to it’s not very
important though. What’s important is to belong to values and motivations and to
researches which look for a common horizon to share.
collaborations and contributions that people will be able to give will only help
and advantage populations who live in the contaminated territories and all the
heritage (knowledge, data, contacts, materials) that the HUMUS PROJECT has
developed in 2 years of researches on the territory is available to everybody
and it’s a support for other projects without any specific field choices or
presumption behaviour and without invading somebody else’s areas or field.
The project is presented with these aims:
an instrument available to everyone and open to any collaboration or
suggestion; a constant “work in progress” where all the individuals have a full
legitimacy and the same participation dignity; an instrument to share common
ways with other associations and to build an informative and co-operative
interchange which will to overcome improductive fragmentations.
PROJECT wants to compare itself with other projects, initiatives and
interventions (not only in Belarus, but also in Russia and Ukraine) believing
that beyond singular purposes there are common actions and ways that can direct
mutual utilizations and can offer adequate modalities and behaviours to the
social, political, economical and cultural reality of the areas which need
The HUMUS PROJECT is a project on the “nourishment risk”.
70% of the radioactive fall out after the Chernobyl nuclear accident on April
the 26th 1986 has contaminated the 23% of the belarusian territories
which based their economy on agriculture. After 17 years from the blowing up of
the reactor N°4 the effects on the environment and on the in habitants have
revealed to be more dramatic than ever.
If on one side we assist to aggravity of oncological diseases and to immune
depression due to the constant actions of low doses, on the other the presence
over radioactive isotopes and of their by – products (v. americius) it remains
constantly in the environment ( the giving back of the soils to their original
conditions needs) only for Cs 137, a period of 300 years. In this situation of
dramaticity actions which account for contamination primary causes gain relevant
meanings. It’s unanimously recognized by all scientists that the 70 – 90 % of
the human contamination derives from the ingestion of contaminated products
through a process which has in the soil “the key of transmission “ . To break
this key it is fundamental. So far mechanisms (soil acidification, deep
breakings up, competition with fertilizers or substances similar to isotopes)
have proved to be insufficient or even totally inefficacious.
The HUMUS projects wants to act on this key
through two main ways:
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