The Environmental Impact of Plov

by Nathan Hamm on 10/20/2004 · 8 comments

From (lots of good stuff–a media review–in that link):

Pravda Vostoka (October 15, 2004) reports an interesting fact: there are between 5,000 and 6,000 (a rough estimate) stalls where pilau is cooked and sold in the streets of Tashkent and along the ring road. It takes 3-4 logs or 0.02 cubic meters of timber to cook 100-150 helpings (one large kazan or cauldron). Multiply it by 5,000 or 6,000 stalls. The result is 100 to 120 cubic meters of timber every day. It means 3,000 to 3,600 cubic meters or an echelon of 60 flatcars every month. This is a luxury indeed for a bare republic whose own forests were cut down long ago.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Tatyana October 20, 2004 at 4:43 pm

The logical question: if the republic is forest-bare, may be those echelons of timber have no impact on Uzbekistan environment since they are coming from regions rich in wood? And who knows, may be that wood is even grown in sustainable forests and as such makes only positive impact on economy?
I especially liked the phrase “lopsided democracy”.

Laurence October 20, 2004 at 6:38 pm

Tatyana, When we were in Tashkent, there was lots of smog when the shashlik stands were cooking–they used a very sooty coal, not timber…

Tatyana October 21, 2004 at 10:52 am

Coal, not woo?
Pravda Vostoka, in other words.

Nathan October 21, 2004 at 11:22 am

I thought I left a comment, but I guess I didn’t.

Shashlik is made with coal, plov with wood, and somsas with whatever is around to burn. You just can’t get the fire you need for a kozon with coal.

I don’t know where all the wood comes from, but I’m fairly certain it’s not imported. Alisher & Asror, do you know anything about where it comes from?

Asrorbek October 22, 2004 at 6:01 am

It’s top secret, Nathan. We can’t tell it anybody and anywhere? 🙂 I am just kidding.
Probably people don’t use much wood now for cooking plov. They use natural gas. I remember when I went to the village I saw people cooking plov and other meals with gas.
Even, that Somsa, Nathan, you liked to eat while in Uzbekistan, is cooked with gas now.
So, I don’t agree with this article much.

Nathan October 22, 2004 at 9:08 am

That’s good to hear that they’re switching to gas. It’s something that there’s actually a lot of in the area, so it makes sense to use it.

Laurence October 22, 2004 at 10:09 am

I wish they would cook shashlik with gas, there is so much smoke in the air in Tashkent from the coal, sometimes it is hard to breathe from the smog, and you can’t see the mountains…

Asrorbek October 22, 2004 at 5:19 pm

How do you think of this one?
In June Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a 35-year agreement with his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, giving Gazprom rights to develop Uzbek natural gas reservoirs. Since then Gazprom has further expressed interest in acquiring a 44 percent share in the Uzbek pipeline monopoly, Uzbektransgas.

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