More river pollution from untreated urban waste due to the Russian-Ukrainian war: a perspective view

Vita Strokal*, Anna Kurovska, Maryna Strokal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Since 24 February 2022, the Russian-Ukrainian war has impacted Ukrainian water resources including river pollution. In this perspective paper, our proposition is that the Russian-Ukrainian war causes likely more river pollution with untreated urban waste compared to the pre-war period. In order to check this assumption, we synthesize the current knowledge with a focus on the Dnipro Basin, containing 80% of the national water resources. Our synthesis reveals three main arguments. First, water-related infrastructures that were damaged as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war are the important causes of pollutant release to water systems. These infrastructure damages are estimated, on average, for rural (30% of irrigation systems) and urban (35–40% of treatment plants and sewage connections) areas or both (40–90% of bridges and dams). Second, water pollution sources tend to change towards direct inputs of untreated urban waste with multiple pollutants compared to the pre-war period. Third, our illustrative example for nutrients, a painkiller, an antibacterial agent, and microplastics from urban waste showed an increase of 2–34% in their loadings into the Dnipro River due to damaged sewage pipes and wastewater treatment plants in 2022. In addition, 20–62% of those pollutants are from untreated urban waste (point sources). We propose a framework for future steps including visualizing (V) and integrating (I) the impacts into tools for quantification as well as translating (T) those quantified insights into actionable strategies and assessing (A) their feasibilities for pollution reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2281920
JournalJournal of integrative Environmental Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023


  • Dnipro basin
  • rural pollution
  • Russian-Ukrainian war
  • urban pollution
  • water infrastructures
  • water pollution


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