Zugulba Beach

Zugulba Beach

Recent investigations by the Turan news Agency have revealed disturbing legal violations and environmental threats related to sewage management in Azerbaijan. Three articles published by Turan highlight serious omissions in state supervision that led to the unauthorized construction of sewer lines and the discharge of untreated wastewater into the Caspian Sea near the popular beaches of Zagulba and Buzovna.

First of all, the Turan investigation showed that Azersu OJSC, a state-owned water resources management company, in collusion with the Confederation of Trade Unions, bypassing the necessary approvals with the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture, the Ministry of Ecology and the Executive Authority of the Khazar district, conducted a sewer line to certain health facilities.

All three government agencies confirmed the lack of coordination in written responses to Turan's requests. However, instead of fighting illegal activities that threaten the environment, these agencies evaded responsibility, advising Turan to contact the "appropriate authorities" without specifying who it might be. This bureaucratic circumvention has left illegal wastewater treatment operations unchecked, raising questions about the effectiveness and accountability of Azerbaijan's regulatory framework.

The second problem that Turan drew attention to is the ongoing discharge of wastewater into the Caspian Sea, which especially affects the beaches of Zagulba and Buzovna. Despite the obvious pollution and the health risks it poses, no government agency has responded to Turan's questions or taken any action to reduce the damage. Sewage continues to flow into the sea, polluting the water and making beaches unsafe for public use. The health service's constant bans on bathing in these areas serve as a stark reminder of unresolved pollution problems.

The negligence of government agencies in regulating and preventing environmental hazards, as well as their inability to provide information to citizens and the media, highlight the broader problem of government inaction. The process of obtaining information from respondents is fraught with delays and confusion, and it often takes months to get results. Even the Ombudsman's office can be powerless, advising the compiler of an information request to seek help from the court — a process fraught with its own delays and difficulties.

Turan appealed directly to Prime Minister Ali Asadov with a request for intervention at the highest level.

To: the Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Mr. Ali Asadov


Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I would like to draw your attention to the problem of environmental protection in Absheron and, in particular, the illegal actions of a number of organizations and the “Azersu” company, which is responsible for the construction and management of the water supply and sewerage system.

Illegal sewage

Last autumn, the laying of a sewer line with a length of more than 2 km from the Khazar sanatorium and the Sheki wellness center began in the village of Buzovna. Both facilities are under the jurisdiction of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan (CTUA). The Khazar sanatorium is closed and inactive after the refugees were evicted from there. The wellness center "Sheki" is being repaired.

My investigation revealed a gross violation of regulations when laying a sewer line. I have concluded that this system will create permanent environmental problems for the environment. As a result of the work, the asphalt pavement was also destroyed and it fell into disrepair. These facilities have not yet been connected to the sewer, however, accidents occur at the junction with the collector and sewage flows out.  My information requests showed that, in violation of the legislation, “Azersu” and CTUA did not coordinate the construction issue, as required by the Urban Planning and Construction Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the local executive authority, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the State Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning. So far, I have not been able to receive information about the project from “Azersu” CTUA. This problem arose as a result of the "Corrupt canalization system" on April 2, 2024 on the website turan.az . 

Pollution of the seashore and the sea by sewage waste

On the eve of the summer tourist season, I conducted an inspection on the beaches of Zagulba and Buzovna. I have fixed sewage drains in the sea. In Zagulba, the runoff is conducted from a sewage treatment plant right at Mirvari beach. On Buzovna beach, drainage to the beach is conducted from private cottages, as well as drainage. The fact is that in the center of Buzovna in the Nakhir Bulagy district, a water supply system was laid in order to remove groundwater into the sea (after your intervention in 2022, the water supply system was repaired). However, vehicles transporting sewage waste from private homes drain waste into the manholes of the water supply system, and thus sewage enters the sea in a significant volume. There is also information that private houses and facilities are illegally connected to the water supply.

In general, the issue of the ecology of the coastal part of the sea, as well as the need for centralized management of coastal territories, including beaches, were also outlined by me in the article. This is very important from the point of view of the development of international and local tourism.     What is the problem with "Will Azerbaijani beaches raise "Blue flags"?” from May 5, 2024 on the website turan.az .

Problem of access to information

An equally important issue is the violation by government agencies and the CTUA of the law on access to information. According to the laws, responses to information requests must be submitted promptly within 24 hours and in exceptional cases up to 7 working days. However, long-term practice proves that this provision of the law is regularly violated:

1. The answer is not presented at all

2. The answer is not to the point

3. The answer comes very late

4. It is possible to get an answer, and often not, in essence, with the help of the Ombudsman.

5. In the case of legal proceedings in connection with the failure to receive a response, the courts usually function as lawyers for the defendants.

6. The courts and the Ombudsman have never applied monetary fines against violators of the law.

Copies of information requests and responses to them are attached to the letter. The dates and responses indicate a gross violation of the law on access to information.

It takes a lot of time, months, to get information for writing an article due to illegal actions of officials. Because of this, it is often not possible to provide the reader with comprehensive information.

What I have written in this letter are serious problems that need to be solved at a high level.

I ask you to instruct authorized persons and organizations to consider and take measures to eliminate the problems posed in the letter and articles and restore legality.

Sincerely, Mehman Aliyev, Director of Turan News Agency


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