95% of Locals Oppose Russia’s Plans for Landfill in Arkhangelsk Region, Poll Shows

The construction of a controversial waste dump that has catalyzed protests in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region for over a year is still opposed by an overwhelming majority of residents in northern Russia, an independent survey shows, according to Pravda.ru.

Plans to ship over 2 million tons of garbage a year from Moscow to the abandoned Arkhangelsk region settlement of Shiyes have drawn fierce opposition among locals. Moscow City Hall has halted construction of the $160 million facility pending public hearings and needed approvals.

A total of 95% of respondents in Arkhangelsk region oppose the landfill’s construction, according to the independent Levada Center polling agency’s results published Monday.

Almost half of the landfill’s opponents said they were willing to attend authorized demonstrations against its construction, and one-quarter said they would take the streets even if the authorities didn’t issue a permit.

When asked to list the reasons for their opposition to the landfill, 70% of opponents named concerns with the environment and 57% cited the authorities’ lack of coordination with residents and ecologists. 55% said the waste dump would affect their health and 39% said that waste storage is an inefficient method of trash disposal regardless of location.

Only 3% of the respondents supported the controversial construction in Shiyes. They named employment opportunities (70%), increased budget revenue (53%) and confidence in the technology’s safety (47%) as their biggest reasons for supporting the project.

Levada conducted the survey among 1,008 Arkhangelsk region residents.