Russia should draft and adopt an environmental protection strategy as soon as possible to save the country for future generations, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
If environmental protection policies were not to change, Russia would eventually be "left with nothing" despite the country's huge territory and vast natural resources, Putin warned at a National Security Council meeting.
"We spend only 0.8 percent of GDP for (environment protection) measures. It cannot be compared to the developed countries," Putin said, adding that over 15 percent of Russian territory has been in unsatisfactory ecological conditions.
The proposed strategy should "contain evaluations of external and internal threats (to the environment) as well as threshold parameters for protection," he was quoted by RIA Novosti new agency as saying.
Although the year 2013 has been declared a Year of Environmental Protection, many industrial sectors remained dominated by "dirty" technologies, he said, noting that since Russia adopted the ecological principle in 2002, little has been done to support it legislatively.
He listed among the most urgent tasks cleansing of the country's largest lakes Baikal, Ladoga and Onega, the Arctic zone.
Russia must also efficiently cooperate with its neighbors in environmental protection, Putin said, referring to Amur and Irtysh rivers and trans-border sea areas.
Russia also lacked a comprehensive system for businesses to pay compensation for the use of natural resources, he said. Acknowledging that such a system would create additional burden for businesses, he said lawmakers should be cautious to "not overload the economy with such demands."