Our group considered the issue of pollution and how this affects the sustainability and resilience of Kazakhstans development agendas including its cities. Although Kazakhstan has many natural resources which are available for economic development, it has also inherited many polluted water bodies, contaminated sites, and air-polluting industries. For example, many water bodies are heavily polluted from industrial sites and untreated municipal wastewater. Kazakhstan has also inherited a huge nuclear test site which is still affecting the health of people and the environment – decades after the last nuclear tests. The main sources of air pollutions are the lack of investment in pollution control on power and heating stations as well as an old fleet of privately owned vehicles. A compounding factor is the low quality of refined oil products which contribute to air pollution in many heavily congested urban areas.
Kazakhstan also faces challenges with sharing precious water resources with its neighbors. This international resource sharing will require international agreements and commitments that are equitable and mutually supportive of economic, social and environmental development agendas.
One of the main solutions for Kazakhstan is to use its natural resource base to transition its heavy carbon-based economy into a Green Economy that is sustainable and resilient. Although this may take possibly decades to achieve, it should initially focus on pollution control and subsequently on eliminating carbon as a basis for its economy. This will initially require regulatory enforcement of stricter standards as well as monitoring, control and enforcement of regulatory standards. Instruments such as trading pollution certificates (as used in carbon trading) may also be an ecomomic mechanism to reduce pollution and introduce sustainable and resilient technologies.
Roland Bradshaw (Nazarbayev University), Sholpan Zhumadina and Yuliya Kanibolotsaya (Pavlodar University) and Bakhyt Aubakirova (L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University), Magdalena Kruza and Kyle Stevens (University of York).