The autumn decorations burned on the branches with a golden flame, and now the avenues, paths and lawns of Veliky Novgorod are a no-no and full of fast-rusting hardwood carpets. The work of those who make the city clean and tidy has increased: as soon as a new wind and rain sets in, the cleaners again create neat piles on the lawns and roadsides, which are then sent to the back of the truck. How ecological is the approach to cleaning the leaves in our city, where it is better not to touch the leaves and what difficulties this work can have, we learned after a conversation with Irina RAZINKOVA, head of the public works department of the Municipal Public Institution “City Economy”.
– Today, the opinion is often heard that in urban conditions the collection of leaves is far from necessary everywhere, and in particular the same trees lose some benefit during this …
– It is quite difficult for green areas to survive in urban conditions, trees are completely dependent on care. The leaves serve as natural fertilizer and food for the trees. Because when we remove it, we don’t buy extra top dressing, we don’t dig it, we don’t water it, the soil is depleted and the trees, of course, suffer. So there is some truth to that.
At the same time, it must be remembered that the urban environment is not a forest. Therefore, it is necessary to clear leaves in certain areas and remove emergency trees. In addition, in the city, this is regulated by the improvement rules. But we in Veliky Novgorod practice such an approach to leave greenery where, figuratively speaking, no human foot has stepped, where fallen leaves do not spread, but calmly rot, becoming a nutrient medium.
– Where do you still need to remove leaves?
– Points of view. The slopes near the Kremlin, for example, should still look neat. Parks should also be clean. Also definitely – along the roads. If the leaves are left in the catchment area, in the winter, when the car exhaust is not rising high and settling below, all this “goodness” accumulates in the leaves. Zinc and a sand-salt mixture are also added to them, and in the spring, when the snow melts, these leaves crumble and turn into dust that we breathe. Therefore, both along the roads and in the so-called transit zones, where there are many pedestrians, the cleaning of leaves is necessary.
You can leave leaves in the adjacent territories, as well as in park areas. But it is necessary to free the paths from greenery, because it can rain, and such a carpet will become dangerous for passers-by.
– What forces are fighting the fallen leaves today, at what stage is it?
– In cleaning, technology is mainly involved, there are not enough “hand brakes” – especially, just for this kind of work. There are not enough of them in the staff of MKU “Urban Agriculture”, on the shoulders of which there are quite extensive territories. However, the work plan is of course like that. We identify the streets where there is the most accumulated foliage and work there first. Priority is the city center, the roads. Also, the cleaning of the leaves today is carried out by the contractor OOO Solid.
Recently, a Sabbath was held in Veliky Novgorod. I thank the administration and the public for their help to the city. Many went out and collected leaves. But this is only a drop in the ocean: to put the city in order, the participation of a much larger number of citizens, businesses, management companies, as well as residents is needed. Next year we will try to gather the maximum number of people on Saturday. In the meantime, we will continue to clear the leaves until stable snow and frost. We don’t have fixed volumes because time itself can add work. After a hurricane, for example, the leaves fall off the trees again. Now the recently cleaned areas must be brought back to order. It’s an endless circle.
– By the way, what happens to the fallen leaves after collection?
– There are still no special compost pits in the city. Therefore, the greens are brought to our depot. It’s in its first year. We also bring there logging residues from remote trees and bushes. Let’s see what happens.
– What changes to the current landscaping and landscaping rules do you think would be worth making?
– It is clear that the problems of greening the city today must be solved in a more ecological way. What is happening today with the “green frame” of the city does not benefit him. Additions and corrections are needed. For example, in the landscaping rules, it is worth distinguishing the territories and clearly prescribing where and in what volume the leaves should be removed.
– Is there an understanding of how this work can now be built based on an environmentally friendly approach?
“We haven’t developed a specific strategy yet. Where we don’t need to remove the leaves, we plan to experiment, see how quickly it will rot, whether it will spread in the spring. And to act with the power we have. Indeed, in addition to leaves, there are spontaneous dumps and other objects that must be removed manually in the same way. In this case, greenery is not the worst thing that spoils the view of the city. Papers, boxes and bottles thrown away in abundance by citizens make cleaning difficult. And this is a job that requires great strength and respect and thanks to which the city becomes neat and clean.
Photo: Lyudmila Stepiko