The month of November is well underway as we approach the village of Myrne, not far from Odessa in southern Ukraine. Despite this, there is feverish activity in the area’s muddy fields. Thanks to the mild climate at these latitudes, multiple harvests of different crops in the same year are possible.
“This is where we are going to extend our school with a new annex. At the moment we are doing the groundwork, planning and taking care of the technical details. By the autumn our pupils will be benefiting from fresh, new spaces. We’re looking forward to it,” explains Galina Lugova, as she hurries on. It is impossible to mistake her enthusiasm as she shows us around.
German heavy metal music booms from the car's speakers as we approach Vitebsk, north-eastern Belarus. The beautiful natural landscape flickers past the windows whilst the singer's hoarse roaring voice hurls us back to the urban reality. We have been picked up in the car by consultant Mikhail Vasilevich in Minsk and are on the way to the OJSC Keramika factory in Vitebsk to take a look at the local reality of what happens on the factory floor.
The nauseating stench of rotting food scraps is unmistakable – and the gulls have come to the same conclusion as they swoop around us in large flocks in search of easily-caught food. “One man's meat is another man's poison” as the saying goes. We are at the landfill site outside Vitebsk in north east Belarus. Project Manager Jesper Nyqvist from the Swedish company Vireo Energy is showing us round to demonstrate how they produce electricity from rubbish.
The Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB-Bank) head offices in Minsk have had a fresh facelift. The newly-renovated building is wedged between grey high-rise blocks around a neat courtyard, a stone's throw from Kalinin square next to one of the city's main streets.
Recent years have been a rewarding time in the protection of the Baltic Sea. Improved wastewater treatment in St Petersburg and actions taken to prevent the discharge of phosphorus at the fertiliser factory on the Luga River in Russia are now bearing fruit.