LEPICARD S., HERIARD DUBREUIL G. Practical Improvement of the Radiological Quality of Milk Produced by Peasant Farmers in the Territories of Belarus Contaminated by the Chernobyl Accident.
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Vol. 56, N° 1-2, 2001, pp. 241-253.
The Chernobyl post-accident has highlighted how the sudden emergence of persistent radioactive contamination in the environment is severely affecting the quality of life of the inhabitants in the concerned territories. The management of this situation is complex, mainly conditioned by the abilty of the inhabitants themselves to be directly involved in the process of improving their living conditions. In this process, quality of life cannot be restricted solely to the dimension of radiological risk, but needs to encompass the diverse aspects of daily living, including the social, psychological, economic, political and ethical aspects. This paper presents the experience of the involvement of a group of peasant farmers from a village in the Republic of Belarus, in the process of improving the radiological quality of privately produced milk. This experience took place in the context of the ETHOS project, funded by the radiation protection research programme of the European Commission. The principal objective was to implement a complementary approach to the rehabilitation strategies adopted so far in the contaminated territories of the Republic of Belarus. This paper retraces the process involvement of the inhabitants in a working group. It describes the characterisation of the situation by local actors, the opening of new possible actions to improve the radiological quaity of milk at the individual level and the positive consequences at the scale of the village. The ETHOS project also illustrates how the scientific knowledge accumulated over many years since the Chernobyl accident in the field of radiation protection and radioecology can enter into local practices in the forme of practical tools, which can be used by the population to produce significant improvements in the radiological situation.