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Baku fines restaurants for air pollution

Neighbours complain of air pollution as restaurant owners promise to install filters

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan has begun to fine restaurants lacking air purification devices.

In May 2018, restaurants in Baku were warned that they will need to acquire such devices before September. But, according to the Report portal, 88 restaurants have not done so yet.

The Ministry of Ecology has since started to conduct inspections. Representatives measured the levels of smoke in restaurants, and issued corresponding fines of up to 3,500 manats (about USD 2,058).

The inspections affected not only restaurants, but also large banquet halls used for hosting hundreds of people for wedding celebrations. Azerbaijani weddings are accompanied by grandiose feasts, during which these ‘houses of festivities’ emit smoke in especially large volumes.

Ramal Bagirov, the director of the National Department of Environmental Monitoring, claims that the ministry decided not to fine restaurants that have not yet installed air cleaning filters but have already purchased the equipment and are awaiting their delivery. They will have to pay tens of thousands of manats if they do not install the filters in the near future.

According to Ministry of Ecology representative Irada Ibrahimova, the smoke blowing from the chimneys of some restaurants badly pollutes the air and causes discomfort to the people around them. The main purpose of these inspections is not to punish these restaurants, but to eliminate the problem:

“If it was simply a matter of fines, we would not have issued any warnings,” Ibrahimova pointed out.

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