HUMUS PROJECT: English Presentation

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 survive”.
Albert Einstein

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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 children. 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 immune-stress.
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”.

The Chernobyl 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 11000.
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 motivations.
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: "Since 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:

1) 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).

2) 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.

3) 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 food.

4) The contamination nourishment chain is the following:
- soil-plants-animals-meat-milk-man
- soil-man.

From these assumptions the HUMUS PROJECT was born which in the following paragraph is presented in its general features.
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.
All the 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.
The HUMUS 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 interventions.

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:

(the agronomic experiment)

(the cohesion between a socio-pedagogical and an agronomic intervention)


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