"This award-winning documentary has only been created by people from Arnika, and their determination and willingness to perform overall monitoring," said Stanislav Krupař, the winning photographer. "At the end of spring, I was invited to travel around the most polluted cities, and while we were traveling from Kharkov to Mariupol for those days, we took tens, even hundreds of soil samples and river sediments which were later examined in Czech laboratories for the presence of heavy metals. The impressions, which I had from the scenes that we have seen during our journey, were like a postapocalyptic horror movie. I do admire and appreciate Arnika for what they do. Keep going."
Stanislav Krupař received the award for the best photographer of the past year due to his series of pictures named "The Devastated East." In the photos, he captured everyday life of local industrial towns, who breathe toxic emissions from surrounding metallurgical factories during Arnika's field trip around Ukraine. The locals breathe in poisonous air, which is amongst the most toxic in Europe. All the photographs were taken during the mission monitoring; the results of the analysis of the samples taken at the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague will be published by the end of this year.
The prize-winning group of pictures in the category Nature, science and environment shows the life of locals living around the giant power plants and found on the east of Ukraine - Mariupol, Dnipro, Zaporyzhye and Kryvyi Rih. Another Krupař's photograph was taken in the Everyday Life category.
In his speech after receiving the award, Krupař critically evaluated the position and working conditions of the Czech reportage photographers. According to his opinion, they do not have a sufficient basis, which would support the systematic making of professional coverages of high quality. In addition, he thanked Arnika for being involved in the project on the east of Ukraine.
Ukraine is one of the most energetic, demanding countries on the planet and is the sixth biggest producer of CO2 per person in the entire world. Ukrainians suffer from many diseases; therefore, tens of thousands of people die every year due to air pollution in Ukraine. Per capita, it means that Ukraine is in first place in these tragic statistics.
Ecological legislation is being violated on a systematic, long-term basis. Even though the European Union norms are starting to be followed, progress has been too slow thus far. This week's representatives of local citizens are negotiating at the international conference in Ostrava are trying to take remedial actions in individual towns.
Congratulations and a sincere thank you to Stanislav Krupař for his beautiful (though gloomy) photographs and we wish you more to come!