LOS ANGELES–The newly formed Global Coalition of Armenian Environmental Activists held its first event at the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School in Sherman Oaks, with over 300 people in attendance.
The event, entitled “Averting Environmental Disaster: Solutions to Irresponsible Mining in Armenia,” featured keynote speaker Yeghia Nersesian, one of the leading environmental activists in Armenia today.
Nersesian discussed the dire effects (and potential consequences of) mining in Armenia, and the need to take immediate action to halt the destruction of the country’s eco-system for the wealth of a few. Nersesian pointed out that if mining continues in Armenia at its current pace, the anticipated environmental impacts will include poisoned water sources and soil and major threats to the public health of the surrounding populations as well as of wildlife in the region.
The Teghut project, while only one of over 600 mines in Armenia, has become one of the most infamous mining projects in the country. Several events have been organized over the past year in Moscow, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., to name a few, to bring attention to what’s taking place on the ground.
Nersesian highlighted that the overarching issue with Teghut and other mines that are being built in violation of national and international laws is the corrupt governance structure, which allows such devastating projects to be approved and executed with minimal compensation or protective measures for those directly impacted by the operations.
The coalition of supporting organizations includes Policy Forum Armenia, ARF “Shant” Student Association, ARPA Institute, Armenia Tree Project, Armenian Bar Association, Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America, Armenian Environmental Network, Birthright Armenia, HaikProject, and the Save Teghut Group.