Putin proclaims plight in the Arctic

President of Russia Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency today after an oil spill in a river in the Arctic circle. The spill occurred on Friday 31 May near the city of Norilsk in Siberia. The director of the power plant has been taken into custody, a stay that could last until 31 […]

Patrick Harland
5th June 2020
Image: Flickr

President of Russia Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency today after an oil spill in a river in the Arctic circle. The spill occurred on Friday 31 May near the city of Norilsk in Siberia.

The director of the power plant has been taken into custody, a stay that could last until 31 July, he is yet to be charged. The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a case investigating the pollution, alleging that there has been negligence. This is due to the time in which it took for Moscow authorities to be notified of the spill.

It is claimed that the Norilsk plant spent two days attempting to contain the oil spillage before informing the government. The leaked oil has drifted as far as 7.5 miles from the initial site of the accident. Russian state media reports that 135 square miles have been contaminated at this stage.

The governor of the region only became aware of the major polluting event when "alarming information appeared in social media". The company has since made a statement saying that the incident was reported to authorities in a timely and proper manner. Despite this, the accident is believed to be the second-largest in modern Russian history.

The company responsible, Norilsk Nickel, were also responsible for an accident in 2016. It has been estimated that the clean-up could take somewhere between five and ten years, costing 100 billion roubles, or £1.2bn.

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AUTHOR: Patrick Harland
Medicinal Chemistry graduate, Environmental Engineering MSc student. Science editor for The Courier 2019-2020.

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