NESEHNUTÍ together with Ecolur had an opportunity to visit Ardvi village located in the north of Armenia. It is currently considered one of the ecological hot spots in Armenia, due to ongoing plans about opening of a new gold-polymetalic mine. Locals gathered in the center of village and shared their concerns regarding this project. Opening of the mine of Shekaghbyur Project on the hills above the village would result in pollution of water resources and environment caused by heavy truck transportation through the village.Villagers are rather planning development towards ecotourism, through establishing a B&B for tourists to enjoy the calm and pure environment of their farming village as well as the 17th century church. There’s also a “stone serpent” nearby and a healing spring, both having a legend.
The inhabitants of Ardvi conducted successful protest earlier. They blocked the road to the village and thwarted a public hearing, which resulted in a change in the mining project. The area of mining has now been moved to the territory under administration of neighboring village Mghart. However, consideringthe distance, the mine is still closer to the village Ardvi and therefore still endangering its water quality.
A new public hearing in Mghart was announced on December 1, but residents of both villages decided to block the road and subsequently even the door to the meeting hall. NESEHNUTÍ’s EVS volunteer in Armenia attended the event with a big puppet of serpent, which she had created herself. Together with the mayor, journalist from Ecolur wrote a statement expressing discontent of locals towards the mine.
On October 23-25, a meeting in Yerevan was held. NESEHNUTÍ met with Ecolur and other environmental initiatives and activists. They were discussing ecological issues in Armenia and NESEHNUTÍ was helping them to improve strategies of campaigns and showing examples of creative approaches and interactive web pages.