Unknown Pollution Causes Mass Marine Deaths In Russia

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95 per cent of marine life has mysteriously died along the shoreline of the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.

Earlier in September, local surfers and swimmers suffered from skin and eye irritation after coming in contact with the water. Underwater photographer Alexander Korobok took part in the research expedition and said that he had suffered from burns during the dive. Dead octopuses, sea urchins and fishes along with other sea lives have washed up on the Khalaktyrsky beach.

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Russian scientist Ivan Usatov said, “..we found that there is a mass death of benthos [bottom-dwelling organisms] at depths from 10 to 15 meters — 95% are dead. Some large fish, shrimps and crabs have survived, but in very small numbers.”

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Greenpeace Russia could not yet establish the cause of the disaster claiming that there isn’t enough data in the official samples. However, its campaign director Blokov said that the place “just by official accounts contains around 108 tons of pesticides and poisonous chemicals.”

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WWF Russia thinks the pollution is caused by a “highly toxic transparent substance that is highly soluble in water.”

Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper had reports from analysts who think that the toxic rocket fuel from a nearby military facility could be responsible for the damage. Yet, Kamchatka governor Vladimir Solodov ruled that out. He believes that the most likely source is the Kozelsky site which has been used since the Soviet era to store poisonous substances deep in the ground.

 The Moscow Times reported that the scientists believe the contaminated area is much larger than the parts they examined.

Russian authorities had initially downplayed the disaster. After social media backlash, the environment minister Dmitry Kobylkin said that those responsible for the pollution would be punished. Russia’s Investigative Committee said that it was examining all possible sources of toxic chemicals.

This is the second major disaster in Russia this year. Earlier in May, an industrial disaster took place with the oil spill in River Ambarnaya, which many believe is one of the worst oil spills in modern Russian history.

Scientists fear that the deaths near the Kamchatka beaches could start a domino effect as the marine food chain has been disrupted. 

Featured Image Credits – CNN


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Vanshika Yadav
She is currently studying English Literature from the Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Read her other writings at www.vanshikayadav.in

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