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About sacred lotus and social networks

How in the struggle for the preservation of nature can help even Instagram

East Russia talked with the chairman of the regional branch of the All-Russian Society for Nature Protection about the action "save the lotuses," the secret floral card of the Far East and the precedent of this summer - catching violators with the help of the popular Instagram network. What future awaits one of the wonders of the Khabarovsk Territory, and here the Selfie and the heavenly punishment - in the material of the rubric "Opinion".

About sacred lotus and social networks
Photo: Nadezhda Tomchenko photo

Vladimir Sidorov

Chairman of the Presidium of the Khabarovsk branch of the "All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature"
- Lotus is our unique property, a relict plant of the Tertiary flora, according to research, this flower is about 100 million years old. In the Khabarovsk Territory, today there are 13 confirmed places where Komarov's lotus blooms. This is the 13th kilometer on the left bank of the Amur, Galkino, Bolshoy Ussuriisky Island, Nekrasovka, several lakes on Khekhtsir, the village of Sheremetyevo in the Vyazemsky District, reservoirs in the border zone of the Bikinsky District; There are lakes in the Amur Region, the Primorsky Territory is also traditionally rich in them. The most famous of the accessible for Khabarovsk residents is, first of all, Lake Galkino, 30 kilometers from the city. Over the weekend, there are up to several thousand people (!), Including both locals and visitors. You can safely call this place over-visited. And the problem of preserving the lotus is not far-fetched, because with such a number of people, the percentage of those who do not understand that this flower is listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and cannot be plucked is quite large. Simply out of ignorance, or due to some other circumstance, people decide on an act of vandalism. Although barbaric collection of bouquets is completely useless, aquatic plants do not stand in vases. In general, they bloomed in Galkino recently, about seven years ago. Several summer residents argue among themselves who was the first of them to bring seeds and plant lotuses there.

This summer, the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature and the All-Russian People's Front launched a traditional "save lotuses" campaign. During the flowering period, we organized raids. The nuance is that many people who do not even tear the lotus trees trample the coastal zone, and this can not be done either - the root system of the lotuses is very sensitive, and when the silt thickens in winter, the roots may freeze, which just this winter and winter. We have protected part of the coastal zone adjacent to the lake in the village of Galkino, an alarm tape in order to warn people. The leaflets that we distribute just say that it is better to admire the lotuses from the shore - this is the best and most civilized way to observe this amazing creation of nature.

I want to emphasize that the innovation of recent years is the work to identify violations of environmental legislation with evidence on the Internet. Various checking structures, competent authorities, police bodies realized that the resonance that is unfolding today in social networks becomes a real force for influencing state structures and becoming an excuse for investigations. But users have not yet fully realized that everything they put on the network instantly becomes public. In my opinion, this is a natural result of the fact that the Internet and technologies capture more and more space of modern society today.

Today, users are actively responding to the facts of the appearance on the network of people who are photographed with torn lotuses. For us, ecologists, this is encouraging, because we see how many residents are experiencing and are ill for the fate of the relict plant. This year in the Khabarovsk Territory 6 cases of flower destruction have already been confirmed. Two episodes were attended by minor children, for whom parents did not follow. In another case we are talking about a drunken company, they tore not the flowers themselves, but the leaves of the lotuses. There was also a call to the 62-65-69 hotline, this is the phone number of the Ecopatrul project. On the site, this company was expelled from the lake. We cooperate with the Internal Affairs Directorate, and with the dacha associations, who will come first on the signal, he also works with the violators.

And now there is a confirmation of the identity of the heroines of the scandalous pictures, the so-called "Instagram women with lotuses" through the police. The girls who visited the lake in Galkino posted their photos with armfuls of lotuses in social networks, checked in. A check is being carried out, I think the protocols will be handed over in the very near future. In general, the passion for selfomania makes violators, mainly, of the fair sex. Sometimes gentlemen who want to present bouquets to their girls are also different. In addition to the fine for lovers of forbidden selfies, negative fame on the Internet awaits, which will haunt them for a long time.

We perfectly understood that our action will become an occasion for certain discussions in social networks, that someone, probably, will suffer from it. Today, as environmentalists, we have to resort to all measures in order to solve the problems facing us. It is very important to observe the balance here, and, of course, we would not like very much that people who committed offenses suffer from excessive public censure. But the degree of public rejection of such phenomena is very high. These girls have already closed their profiles in Instagram, deleted their photos. There is also a question of ethics and morality, because the principles of behavior on the Internet today are regulated by society itself. And we do not in any way call for harassment, this is an excessive and unnecessary factor. Make a comment to a person who does not really understand what he is doing, to report the facts of promulgating such photos to special services, including our organization, so that we pass this information on to the police - in this way we propose to act to indifferent citizens. Organizing the persecution of these people is too much. Perhaps the girls simply did not think and now repent. Therefore, we are working with the media and social groups in order to direct this righteous anger of the residents of the Khabarovsk Territory, the Far East, into a constructive channel. For this purpose, our social organizations and movements actually exist, in which people can realize themselves, take part in actions, do something useful for the environment. The irrevocability of punishment is an important point, if a person has already been caught, he will pay in strict accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation. Article 8.35 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation provides for a fine for torn lotus for individuals from 2,5 to 5 thousand rubles. To determine the exact amount, Rosprirodnadzor calculates the damage in each case individually.

EastRussia help: CAO RF, Article 8.35. Destruction of rare and endangered animal or plant species
Destruction of rare and endangered species of animals or plants listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, or protected by international treaties, as well as actions (inaction) that can lead to the death, reduction in the number or violation of the habitat of these animals or to the death of such plants , or the extraction, storage, transportation, collection, maintenance, purchase, sale or shipment of said animals or plants, their products, parts or derivatives without proper permission or in violation of the conditions provided for by the permission, or in violation of another established procedure, if these actions do not contain a criminal offense - shall entail the imposition of an administrative fine on citizens in the amount of two thousand five hundred to five thousand rubles with confiscation of tools for the extraction of animals or plants, as well as animals or plants themselves, their products, parts or derivatives, or without it; on officials - from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand rubles with or without confiscation of tools for the extraction of animals or plants, as well as animals or plants themselves, their products, parts or derivatives; for legal entities - from five hundred thousand to one million rubles with or without confiscation of tools for the extraction of animals or plants, as well as animals or plants themselves, their products, parts or derivatives.

In the action "save the lotuses" the theme of nature protection does not even sound pure; It is, rather, such an important self-regulatory mechanism. People are ready to defend what is really dear to them not only on the shore, but also in social networks. Now it is already possible to state that the output of the stock on the Internet gave good practical results.

The selection of various lotus species is well developed, and cultivated varieties of lotus are actively used in planting, in decorative construction. But from wild-growing plants our lotus Komarova is the most northern and largest. And the rarest, it needs to be emphasized! Those places where it is not thanks, and even despite all and all survived, can be considered one of the manifestations of the wonders of the Khabarovsk Territory, which, in fact, is the lotus. Therefore, those security measures that are applied are fully justified. The lake in Galkino, like a number of others, should be included in the list of specially protected natural territories of regional significance. Now, together with the Ministry of Natural Resources of the region, we are working on the possibility of including this unique corner in the list of protected areas. Unfortunately, the lake is in federal ownership. Once this territory belonged to agricultural experimental farms, it was actively used within the framework of the meliorative complex. We are in correspondence with the government agencies to decide on which way to go next. The question should be decided to 2018 year. What will change? With the receipt of the official status of the PAs, it will not be possible to conduct any work there, firefighting will be prohibited. And this, alas, is not uncommon - for example, not so long ago in the village of Mykolayivka on the left bank of the Amur, work was under way to build a dam, and this threatened the lotus population.

But there is a good tendency: there are more and more rose lakes in the Far East, and this is wonderful. But we need to develop the infrastructure so that people can reach them in a civilized way, have a rest, maybe pay a little money for this pleasure. This territory should have been made from A to Z: it is the covering of the road, and the organization of garbage collection, and the duty of the inspector or caretaker. Then people can enjoy this unique phenomenon without any illegal temptations.    

Finally, I will say that a lot of myths and legends are associated with the lotus, and people who want to encroach on this plant need to be careful not only from the point of view of the administrative code of the Russian Federation. At least 5 world confessions consider the lotus sacred, and those who pluck it can expect a punishment of a different order. 

Photo of Olga Guseva
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