Peter Michalko, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova

Pollution affects everybody – through the air we breathe, the water we drink or the land we grow our food on. It is the largest environmental cause of multiple mental and physical diseases, and of premature deaths, especially among children, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly. But pollution does not affect everybody equally. People who live in more deprived areas very often live close to contaminated sites or in areas where there is a very high flow of traffic. Pollution is also one of the main reasons for the loss of biodiversity. It reduces the ability of ecosystems to provide services such as carbon sequestration and decontamination.

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But it can be prevented. The EU Action Plan toward a Zero Pollution Ambition is a key action of the European Green Deal scheduled for spring 2021. It will help to create a toxic-free environment across the EU by better monitoring and, reporting, and by preventing and remedying pollution from air, water, soil, and consumer products.
It will also support the post-COVID 19 recovery by helping to rebuild a more sustainable EU economy, creating job opportunities and reducing social inequalities.

The European Green Week 2021 will be dedicated to the ‘zero pollution ambition’. It will also look at other relevant European Green Deal initiatives, such as the climate initiatives, the upcoming Chemicals Strategy, as well as initiatives in the fields of energy, industry, mobility, agriculture, fisheries, health and biodiversity.

European Green Week 2021, 31 May – 04 June 2021 (https://www.eugreenweek.eu/), will be an opportunity to engage with all stakeholders and interested citizens on how we can work together to make the ambition for a zero pollution and toxic-free environment a reality.

Virginijus Sinkevičius,
European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Cantemir – Investing in the future:
environmentally friendly kindergartens and schools

Investing in the future: environmentally friendly kindergartens and schools

A kindergarten as any child imagines, bright as the sun and warm as the mother’s cheeks. This is the way the “Ghiocel” kindergarten from Cantemir city looks like after the renovation. Here, with the support of the European Union, a gray institution with limestone walls, never insulated, has become a dream place for children.

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The renovation of the kindergarten took place a year ago, here the children and teachers enjoy the warmth inside the building, but also the pastel colors of the exterior walls. Elena Costanda, the kindergarten director, is proud of the advantages of modernization: “The exterior is pleasant and attractive, we have reduced maintenance costs during the cold period of the year with about 20 percent. Savings that we plan to use in the construction of new playgrounds ”.


Warm and airy buildings, renovated with European money

The savings made by the kindergarten administration are due to the modern European energy efficiency rules and technologies used to renovate the kindergarten. Thus, with thermally insulated and colored exterior walls, solar panels on the roof, new windows and exterior doors, modern electrical and ventilation systems, but also with an individual thermal point, which ensures the automatic regulation of the temperature inside the institution depending on the temperature outside, the kindergarten is one of the few institutions in the country environmentally friendly and safe for children.

The kindergarten administration claims that, without the help of the European Union, it would have taken decades to achieve what has been done in just a few months. “Our kindergarten has become a dream. It has become not only beautiful, but also with well-ventilated rooms and a constant temperature “, says the director of the institution Elena Costanda.

“Children come to kindergarten with pleasure, and our work is much easier”

Svetlana Blîndu has been working in this kindergarten for over 25 years. The teacher recognizes that, in this profession, it is necessary to invest love and get emotionally involved. However, over the years, she was convinced that the environment and the space, where the activities take place, have a great influence on the education of children. “When I started to work here, it was very uncomfortable. The winter was cold. When the children were sleeping at midday, I used to cover them with two blankets. This year I felt the difference, which brought me an enormous satisfaction. Since I’ve been working, I haven’t seen children sleeping in their underwear at midday. And in the summer, at 9 o’clock in the morning, I was already going out with kids, because it was hot in groups. Now it is cool in summer, and warm in winter “, admits Svetlana Blîndu.

“The Kindergarten is like a Cinderella who changed her clothes …”

And the parents claim that they take their children to kindergarten with more confidence. Popov Larisa is the mother of a 6-year-old boy. The woman says that, even on Saturday, if the institution worked, her child would come to kindergarten: “My child says he goes to the most beautiful kindergarten in town. And for us, the parents, it is not only beautiful, but also a safe and warm place. I remember when I used to bring the child to kindergarten dressed like an onion, with many rows of clothes, now he is coming in light clothes and we don’t need to take a leave so often, because the little ones get sick. I always say: Our Kindergarten looks like a Cinderella who changed her clothes ”.

Due to the works carried out with European financial support, the building of the institution, having more than 50 years, offers improved learning conditions for 135 children from Cantemir.

For two years already, the city of Cantemir has been part of a major European project, which provides for the thermal rehabilitation of four local educational institutions:  “Mihai Eminescu” gymnasium, “Dimitrie Cantemir” high school, the kindergartens no. 1 and no. 2. Thus, the buildings have been insulated, in some institutions biomass boilers are to be installed, the internal heating systems are modernized, but also the lighting ones. At the same time, equipment for the use of solar energy will be installed. The project “CanTREB – Rehabilitation of educational buildings in Cantemir” is financed by the European Union, under the Program “Convention of Mayors – Demonstration Projects” and has a total budget of 842,800 Euros, of which 20% constitutes the local contribution.



Festelita – energy smart village

The village is lit up with LED bulbs, the main buildings receive heating from ecological sources and they do not stop here. Feștelița village, from Ștefan Vodă district, is going to become the locality with zero traditional energy consumption, all due to the support of European partners. For several years, the village has been energy-efficient, and for the first time in our country, the local authorities will manage a park with photovoltaic panels. The villagers support the ecological actions, because they care of the fate of the Earth.

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What for many villages and towns in Moldova seems an almost unachievable dream, in Feşteliţa village, Ştefan Vodă district, it became a reality. With European financial support, the local School, Kindergarten and Culture House were thermally insulated and equipped with solar batteries or photovoltaic panels, in order to reduce electricity consumption. It all started 12 years ago at the initiative of Mayor Nicolae Tudoreanu. He aimed at reducing costs, as much as possible, and protect the environment from CO2 emissions.

“We have achieved what we set out to do in Brussels, by signing the Convention of the Mayors on the reduction of CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. The Public institutions are energy efficient. We already have households in the village that have installed photovoltaic panels, solar collectors for domestic water heating and the trend is a positive one”, says the mayor.

“When I go out at night, it seems to me that our village looks like a small town… ”

Almost all the inhabitants of the village know what ecology and energy efficiency mean, mostly since the locality has obtained the status of “smart energy village”. 

We found Ecaterina Becciu in the park, situated in the center of the locality. The woman is already used to responding well to new people who come to visit the village. 

At 80 years old, the woman is proud that their village became an example for localities across the country: „When I go out at night, it seems to me that our village is like a small town. Everything is lighted up, beautiful. I live here on a hill, I never thought I would have water in the household and light on the streets. I used to come from work at night, in the dark, and mud … Now it’s good, I wish to have more years to live.”

Illumination at one click distance

Together with aunt Ecaterina, for about a year already, the approximately three thousand inhabitants of the village are happy to have smart street illumination. From European funds, the new system was equipped with almost 600 LEDs, mounted on about 20 kilometres of streets, which can be managed remotely. 

Radu Procopenco, the manager of the Municipal Enterprise – Feștelița Communal Services, is explaining, in front of the computer, that “we can adjust each lighting pillar from the computer, we can adjust the light intensity. Thus, on brighter nights, when people do not walk on the streets, the intensity is lower. The new technology has brought, during a year, savings of at least 30% of electricity. For example, if before, for the 4 km of classic lighting, we spent 60 000 lei annually, now, for the approximately 20 km, we foresee to spend about 100 000 lei”.

Savings with the help of nature

Another success that Feștelița village has achieved is the thermal insulation of the Kindergarten and Gymnasium. Last year, biomass boilers were installed at the Kindergarten, Gymnasium, Town Hall and the House of Culture. The school manager, Valentina Cebotari, proudly retells us about the ecological institution where 273 children are studying. 

Valentina Cebotari considers that environmental education must be demonstrated to children from an early age: “Currently, our school benefits from three components of energy efficiency. We have a biomass boiler, photovoltaic panels are installed on the school and the school building has been thermally insulated. We opt for solar energy and tell children about the benefits of these technologies. Last year we made savings of 30 000 lei, money that we will use to equip the classrooms. Currently, several renovation works are taking place in the school, their main purpose refers to creation of modern, safe and comfortable school facilities.”

“The place where the village garbage dump was once, will bring money…”

At the local Town Hall the works are in full development. Here the carpentry, the doors, the windows have been changed, the thermal insulation of the building was made and the warm floors were installed, all these works aim at energy saving and environment protection. The mayor of the locality also showed us the future Park of photovoltaic panels, which will bring annual revenues of over 800 000 lei. “Now the place where the village garbage dump was once, will produce money. Solar energy will be converted into electricity and sold to a supplier. Money that will come in the city hall budget, we will redirect it for other needs that the locality has”, states the Mayor Nicolae Tudoreanu.

According to him, the locality’s relationship with the European Union has begun 12 years ago, after making several visits to the member countries of the community bloc, and since then he has been keeping an eye on all the innovations that can be implemented in his home village as well.

Over the years, the European Union has supported and contributed to the development of projects related to energy efficiency and carbon reduction in Moldova. Every year, the town halls from our country, receive financial support from the Energy Efficiency Fund of Moldova, in order to modernize the buildings, corresponding to high standards for energy efficiency. The total cost of the program “Convention of Mayors – Demonstration Projects” constitutes approximately 800 000 euros, of which the EU investment represents 500 000 euros, and the beneficiary’s contribution is 300 000 euros.



Ungheni:
Modern aqueduct and sewerage – solution to environmental problems

Modern aqueduct and sewerage – solution to environmental problems

“Will we have tap water today or not?” – the most common question among the inhabitants of National Street, from Ungheni municipality, has not been heard for almost one year. Periodically, due to the obsolete aqueduct, the inhabitants of the city, public and commercial institutions were left without tap water. With the financial support of the European Union (EU), a new aqueduct was built, with a length of over 1600 meters, which provides with drinking quality water more than 24 000 people. Also, with the help of the EU, over 130 households located in a sector that has so far lacked sewerage, will benefit from this service.

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Svetlana Nagnibeda lives on the National Street in Ungheni municipality for more than seven years. The woman tells us happily about the advantages of the new aqueduct, built on the main street of the city: “Without water, you can’t even prepare the food, you can’t use the bathroom. Often, the husband brought by car large bottles with water or I would go to the store and buy. Ever since the new aqueduct was built, I’ve forgotten what means doing water reserves”.

The inhabitants of the main artery of the city often remained without water, because the degree of wear of the aqueduct pipes was over 150%, and a quarter of the delivered water did not reach the tap due to losses in the public distribution network. Also, on this street is located the Theoretical Lyceum “Mihai Eminescu”, the largest institution in the region. “We have over 1,200 children and over 100 employees. Without water it was quite complicated. When there was a damage to the aqueduct, the workers from Apă-Canal brought us a cistern with water, I made reserves in cauldrons, there were special bottles in the kitchen, it was an inconvenience anyway. With the construction of the aqueduct, the land in front of the institution is no longer damaged as before, when needed aqueduct repair. The most important thing for us is the quality of water, and the water is good now”, underlined Petru Langa, the director of the “Mihai Eminescu” Theoretical Lyceum.

“It’s complicated to explain to customers that in the 21st century, we don’t have running water.”

The economic agents from the National Street are also satisfied with the quality of the new aqueduct. Dumitru Marjină is one of the 942 economic agents that operate on the main artery of the city. The entrepreneur claims that the problems created by the lack of water was a real challenge.

“I was systematically having problems with water. Imagine, we are working in the public catering sector. When there was no water, you could not activate! In our case, everything depends on water: dishwashing, hygiene, everything. If in the kitchen, sometimes the water supply helped us, the bathroom had to be closed. It is complicated to explain to customers that, in the 21st century, we do not have running water”, said Dumitru Marjină.

According to local authorities, the distribution network in Ungheni city was built in 1978. Since then, with few exceptions, only a few renovations have been made. The deputy mayor of the city, Denis Ternovschi, claims that: “The discomfort was felt not only due to the lack of water, but also to the construction sites that existed on every perimeter of these pipes. There were leaks that were not visible, it was a waste of clean drinking water, both ecologically and financially”.

The sewerage system will open the wells

With the construction of the aqueduct, the local authorities in Ungheni municipality, with European financial support, is also expanding the local sewerage system. Thus, on a portion of over 2300 meters from the city centre, the sewerage network is under construction. This sector, so far, has been lacking a similar service.

I found Ana and Constantin Gorincioi working into the yard. The two elders showed us the sewer system they built 24 years ago – a pit of 5 meters deep. “This pit must be cleaned every few months. It smells bad. We have a well across the street from our gate, but we can’t get water from there. The water in the well was good, but since the neighbours made such holes in the yard, no one drank water from it. We hope that, with the construction of the sewer, we will open that well”, tells us the owner of the house while covering the yard pit with a sewer cover.

Together with Gorincioi family, over 14 000 people, but also 11 economic agents, will have access to the public sewerage system, thanks to the European Union financial assistance. Within the project, a modern pumping station was installed, which will digitally transmit the information to the central dispatcher. Thus, the employees of the Municipal Enterprise “Apă-Canal” from Ungheni, will receive live data about the amount of wastewater, damage of network, voltage deviations or cases of disconnection from electricity.

The construction of the main aqueduct in Ungheni municipality, but also the extension of the sewerage network is part of the project “Rehabilitation and expansion of water supply and sewerage systems in Ungheni locality”, funded by the European Union. The project is part of the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Program (2019-2024), which supports smart social-economic development, ecological, inclusive and sustainable in Cahul and Ungheni regions, in order to ensure a better quality of life for citizens.

Ungheni: European style cleaning

Solutions inspired by nature. More and more entrepreneurs are opting for attractive solutions not only for economic challenges, but also for environmental ones. The carpet laundry from Ungheni district, “Unfloria” LLC, is developing by implementing environmentally friendly technologies and products. It is the only eco laundry in the region.

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“Unfloria” company provides cleaning and washing services for textiles, including carpets, as well as sewing services for home textiles. Business administrators use only environmentally friendly detergents when washing the items. Moreover, in order to save electricity, the water is heated with the help of solar batteries, aiming to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

With the funds offered by the European Union, but also with own financial resources, the company’s founder, Cristina Scutaru, will purchase an automatic machine for washing carpets and related equipment. Thus, the company will increase the quality and speed of its services. “Currently, we wash the carpets by the classic method, with a water hose, with high pressure, which does not allow us to make any savings. With the purchase of the carpet washing line, we will be able to reduce electricity consumption by approximately 20% and water consumption by approximately 40%. At the same time, we will hire new people in this field of work”, says Cristina Scutaru.

Ecologically cleaned carpets

With the increase in the number of employees and the installation of new technologies, the company plans to increase the workload. “We will have the carpet shaker, then the washing machine, centrifuged and finished. There will be four separate machines, through which we will increase the workload, we will have a better quality and will reduce the prices for the provision of these services”, mentions Sergiu Scutaru, the company’s administrator.

To reduce soil and groundwater pollution, the company uses hypoallergenic biodegradable detergents, composed of natural ingredients and cleaning enzymes. “Our company uses only biodegradable detergents. Detergents that do not harm the environment, do not harm the fabric of clothes, are detergents that dissolve quickly and allow us to save water in the rinsing process”, says Cristina Scutaru.

Savings with the help of ecological technologies

The company uses several environmentally friendly technologies. The administrator of the company explains us, in great detail, how the washing system used by them is working. “We have three sources to heat the water. In summer we use solar batteries, in winter we use the biomass boiler or the classic method – with the help of gas. All our washing machines already receive heated water, and this saves us money.” The company’s founder says that she took over the environmentally friendly practices from the European exhibitions she participated in.

“Unfloria” is one of the 28 beneficiaries of the Grant Program for the business sector in the key regions of Ungheni and Cahul. Founding the company, Cristina Scutaru benefits from a grant of 30 000 euros offered from European funds under the Program “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” (2019-2024), which supports smart, inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in Cahul and Ungheni regions, in order to ensure a better life quality for citizens. The program has a total budget of 23 million euros, being funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Eco business developed with the support of the European Union

They have decided to take over European practices and implement them in their own locality.  

After several years spent abroad, Victor Voina returned home, where he wanted to start his own business. The young man, being ambitious, set out to implement the modern agriculture, but also the ecological one, in the south of the country. The experience gained in the agricultural sector, both in the country and in Romania, helped him to open a vegetable business in his hometown.

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Greenhouses heated with used oil

The Grant obtained within the “EU4Moldova Program: Key Regions” will help him to expand the business. The amount of 25 000 euro, plus his own contribution, are invested in the construction of his greenhouse where he can grow vegetables, using a heating system based on used oil.

Victor Voina tells us: “Our aim was to create an environmentally friendly business. We have a farm, where we will build two greenhouses, both according to the latest eco technologies. We will grow vegetables, and we will heat the greenhouse with the oil obtained from another business of ours – a pizzeria. All the used oil from our kitchen, but also from other producers in the town, will be used in order to heat the greenhouse”.

The salad, green onion, dill, parsley, mint, arugula, basil grown by Voina family will be sold to the HoReCa network from the region, at the same time, they will cover the needs of the other business – the pizzeria.

“The idea of such a business came out from our personal necessities. We need greens, vegetables all year round. In the cold period of the year we pay exaggerated prices for greens. I am a horticultural engineer by profession and a citizen of a country with an agricultural profile. We are able to grow these greens at home “, the entrepreneur explains to us.

“Bottles suitable for the construction of greenhouses”

Starting with the desire to protect the environment, Victor Voina has built a greenhouse of over 70 thousand bottles, two meters deep. The idea came from his wish to reuse the bottles that would end up in the trash. “I knew that some of the agencies that sell beer collect them, but most of them are thrown away. Bottles have proven to be a good material for construction, they retain thermal energy. This greenhouse will heat up slightly in the winter”, claims Victor Voina.

Another waste to be reused, are the metal boxes. “We collected metal cans, which in the future will become pots, where vegetables will be grown. These pots with greenery will be sold and offered as a bonus to loyal customers”, says Victor Voina.

 

 

 

 

Eco-tourism business

At the Eco-Village Pension from Văleni village, Cahul district, the works are underway. Four rustic cottages with thematically arranged courtyards, appropriate for the occupations of the peasants from Lunca Prutului de Jos, are in full process of construction. The pension is the business of the Știrbeț family from Văleni village. All people are involved in preparing the pension for its reopening. Until the big event, the hosts have to prepare the guest houses, but also to arrange the courtyards.

Thus, according to Mihaela Știrbeț, “This year, in Văleni village, 24 new places of accommodation will be available. The guest houses have views over the famous place Colinele de Aur, which our village is proud of. Also this summer, we will build, with the help of the funds received from the European Union, a swimming pool and a sauna – all for the comfort of our clients”.

Houses built from ecologic materials

The extension of the pension is possible thanks to the grant awarded through the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Program. The amount of 30 000 euro, assistance from European funds, plus own contribution, will be invested in the infrastructure development of the extended pension: the endowment of the complex with sewerage system, the construction of the swimming pool and sauna with wooden tubs, furnishing eight new rooms, the purchase of the necessary equipment for adventure tourism and natural treatment facilities. Also, the pension’s website will be improved www.complexvaleni.com.

The administrator of the pension, Mihaela Știrbeț, says that everything produced at Eco-Village Văleni is natural: “Fruits and vegetables are from our own garden, dairy products are from farm animals or from the villagers. Our customers will be able to enjoy a tasty homemade wine, we also have a small winery, Corbu Winery. And the houses, where our guests will stay, are built according to the technology of our grandparents, walled with clay and straw, covered with reeds, each house will have its own yard, but also some distinct features. It will be the Fisherman’s House, the Carpenter’s House, the Shepherd’s House and the Miller’s House, and the courtyards of these houses will be specific to the name”, she added.

Innovative environmental protection ideas are supported and encouraged by the European Union. Thus, 28 entrepreneurs, from Ungheni and Cahul regions, received grants for the development of environmentally friendly businesses. Existing companies, startups and social entrepreneurship initiatives benefit from grants totaling up to 700 000 euro.

Aroma Pădurilor (The forests aroma) in your cup

They prepare aromatic and ecological teas directly from the heart of the Moldavian Codrii. A young family, with great dreams, has developed a business of growing aromatic plants for tea in Năpădeni locality, Ungheni district. The plantation extends on an area of ​​over 22 hectares, of which 17 hectares are intended for growing rose hips.

With the help of a grant of 26,300 euros obtained from the European Union, but also with their own contribution, entrepreneurs will invest in modernizing the irrigation system, installing photovoltaic panels and, at the same time, will contract marketing expertise services.

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Dumitru Chitoroagă has his roots in Ungheni district, he returned in his hometown and launched, in 2013, a business oriented on the production of natural teas and cultivation of medicinal plants. In Năpădeni village, from Ungheni district, he grows mint, lemon, marigold, rosemary and other plants. The teas produced under the “Aroma Pădurilor” brand are sold in over 70 stores in the country, but also exported to countries such as Canada, USA, Italy and Russia. And 60% of the raw material obtained from the plantation is distributed to a cosmetics company.

Teas from the Republic of Moldova on the international market

Now, the goal of entrepreneurs is to mechanically harvest the plants, because most of the work is done manually. “Thanks to EU funding, the “Aroma Pădurilor” brand will conquer new international markets, such as Romania, Belgium, and Japan. We will also produce larger quantities of organic medicinal and aromatic plants”, says Dumitru’s wife, Corina, who manages the business.

ECO is the word we find on tea boxes as well. The administrator of the business, Corina Murzac, is proud of the fact that the teas produced by them are from ecological areas, the plantation being located in the Codrilor area, a short distance from the “Codrii” scientific reservation. “Even V.V. Dokuceaev, the well-known Russian scientist, the author of the work “Regarding the soils of Bessarabia”, called this region “Bessarabian Switzerland”, emphasizes Corina Murzac.

 

Plants grown on organic fields

Having the desire to be as environmentally friendly as possible, entrepreneurs focus on three key directions: modern equipment, increased attention to the process of ecological production and innovation. And with the financial support received from the European Union, their dream will become a reality. “With the help of the funds received from the European Union, we will build a modern irrigation system and we will install photovoltaic panels that will help us in the working process. All these will contribute to the increase of the workload, but also to the increase of our business”, states Corina Murzac.

A successful business also has secrets, confesses the entrepreneur. And the secrets of a tasty and aromatic tea start from the seeds they are planting to the way of care, drying and packaging. The representatives of the “Aroma Pădurilor” tea take great care of all these details. “We procure the seeds from the Institute of Genetics, everything we have in the field is checked, analyzed by experts, so that, as a result, we have a very tasteful tea. The plants are taken care of manually, we hire day laborers, and the work is done carefully and cleanly”, emphasizes Corina Murzac.

“Our goal, when we opened this business, was not to leave the country …”

 

The future plans of the Chitoroagă family are, in fact, resuming to one: “Our goal, when we opened this business, was not to leave the country, but to invest and stay here. We love the places where our plants grow, we have such a beautiful country, with fertile land, we can grow our business at home in the Republic of Moldova”.

The founders of “Aroma Pădurilor” tea are among other 28 beneficiaries of the business grant program in the Cahul and Ungheni regions. The grant has a total value of up to 700,000 euros, assistance provided by the European Union for the development of the private sector in key regions. The businessmen were selected in a competition run by the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Program, in which 140 entrepreneurs from Cahul and Ungheni districts enrolled.

 

 

Young European Ambassadors have joined European Green Week. They took the initiative in their hands and took to the streets to talk to the people of the capital about environmental protection. Change starts with us. Zero pollution for the planet and healthier people!

Adelina Grozav

Teodora Drucec

Nicu Miron

Maria Victoria Chilari

Ilina Rufa

Cătălina Ceban

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