Greenpeace: ‘Eastern Russia ecological disaster revealed more environmental problems’

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The still mysterious ecological disaster discovered two weeks ago in the eastern Russian region of Kamchatka has exposed further environmental problems in this region. When asked, environmental organization Greenpeace told Press that on Tuesday. Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are now working with the local government of Kamchatka to solve these problems.

Landfill excluded as cause, Russia nevertheless takes measures

Since dozens of dead animals were found along the coast of Kamchatka, it is still unclear why they died. Environmental organizations, local volunteers and the local government are conducting extensive research into the environmental disaster, but for the time being without outcome.

However, these studies have yielded a different result: various ecological problems in Kamchatka and even elsewhere in Russia have been exposed.

For example, it became clear that there are poorly secured waste dumps in the region and that the government needs to update the systems for monitoring nature. The local government seems to be responding to environmental organizations and is already starting to take measures, explains Elena Sakirko from the Russian branch of Greenpeace.

Sakirko mentions a pesticide dump, Kozelsky. This Soviet-era landfill was the prime suspect quite early after the disaster. Perhaps odorless and colorless chemicals had spilled into a nearby river, which could have been the cause of the disaster. Analysis of soil samples ruled out Kozelsky as the culprit.

“But Kozelsky is located in an open forest, without proper protection,” says Sakirko. “We have discussed it with the government and although they do not consider it to be the cause, they have decided to tackle the landfill and prevent future problems.” The local government is going to clear the landfill completely and work there currently a plan for it.

Water samples also indicated traces of industrial pollution as waste water from local factories flows directly into the sea at Kamchatka.

None of the discovered substances can currently be identified as a source of animal death. After discussions between the local government and environmental activists, it was decided to intervene in these waste streams to prevent further pollution.

A Russian government official collects dead animals from a beach in Kamchatka for further investigation. (Photo: ANP)

Both Greenpeace and WWF investigations into the disaster show that Russia generally does not have the resources to properly monitor nature. Russian authorities are ready to fine offenders, but disclosure of problems often has to be done by civilians or activists, it said. WWF.

The local government is now working to set up such a system for Kamchatka, but the organizations believe this is happening too late. So reported the government had found an 11 km long waste trail in the sea on October 10, but this waste had already been discharged by September 23.

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