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Zhetibai Oil Pollution, Kazakhstan


For several years OJSC (Open Joint Stock Company) “Mangistaumunagigaz” has been dumping its’ oil slime and waste from oil extraction on the designated oil waste polygons. According to the local villagers of Zhetibai, the polygons are located dangerously close to their houses. The company has also been allegedly burning the oil waste-rich soil at night. Locals report that they have breathed for several years contaminated air full of oil grime that contains carcinogens and other related dangerous substances. They add that they also have suffered many illnesses, discomfort and headaches as the result of the polluted environment. Local NGO “ECO Mangistau” presented an official report that two of the five polygons that they checked were not adhering to the Environmental Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Several severe breaches of dumping and safe utilization of oil waste have been detected, the absence of hydro isolation of temporary oil slime containers and uncontrolled air contamination among many others.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Zhetibai Oil Pollution, Kazakhstan
State or province:Mangistau Oblast'
Location of conflict:Zhetibai
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:12,000-25,000
Start of the conflict:01/03/2010
Company names or state enterprises:OJSC Mangistaumunaigaz from Kazakhstan
Relevant government actors:Governor of the Mangistau Region, Alik Aidarbaev
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:NGO "ECO Mangistau"
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination
Potential: Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Other socio-economic impactslack of labour opportunities
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Proposal and development of alternatives:ECO Mangistau has fought to move the polygons to a different place, at a safe distance from the village
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The polygons are still there and no one has compensated the people and/or conducted a study to exactly assess the harmful impact of the company's activities.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Environmental Code of Kazhakstan

News article reporting locals' protests
[click to view]

Unemployment protests
[click to view]

Mangistau Governor Statement News Report
[click to view]

Government Info about Zhetibai
[click to view]

Article mentioning court ruling
[click to view]

ECO Mangistau news report
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Locals gathering for a dialogue with the local administration concerning unemployment
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Yevgeniya Yatsenko, MICLA McGill University
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1510
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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