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Friday, 5 June 2020

Putin Declares Emergency after Arctic Oil Spill

PUTIN DECLARES EMERGENCY AFTER ARCTIC OIL SPILL

President Putin declared a state of emergency in northern Siberia after Russia's second largest oil spill.

In what is considered one of the biggest oil spills in modern Russian history, 20,000 tonnes of diesel leaked into the Ambarnaya river near the Siberian city of Norilsk. The spill took place last Friday, 29th May 2020; however, the government was only informed of the spill two days later on Sunday.

This has led to President Vladimir Putin declaring emergency in the region, adding to the woes of the coronavirus pandemic. The oil spill’s effects shall take nearly a decade and over a billion dollars to be mitigated, but in the time of global environmental and financial crises, this disaster may not be one that is easy to come back from.

PUTIN DECLARES EMERGENCY AFTER ARCTIC OIL SPILL


SIBERIAN OIL SPILL PROMPTS EMERGENCY


Over 20,000 tonnes of diesel was spilled into the Ambarnaya River, as a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed. 

The plant is owned by Norilsk Nickel which is the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium. 

Consequently, President Putin declared a state of emergency in the region of northern Siberia, witness to the second largest oil spill in the history of Modern Russia.

THE EXTENT OF THE SPILL 


The spill spread upto 12 km from the origin, contaminating an area of 350 sq. km. 

The damage was exacerbated due to ground subsidence, caving and sinking of the land under the fuel tank, and melting of the Artic Permafrost. 

The plant went two days without informing the Russian government about the incident as they attempted to contain the spill; Putin expressed anger towards this act of negligence after learning of the incident from social media.

A HISTORY OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEGLIGENCE


Norilsk Nickel, the company responsible for the spill, has displayed a trend of environmental negligence over the years. 

It was involved in another episode of oil spillage in 2016, an accident at one of its plants that admittedly 'turned a nearby river red'. 

The city also leads in Sulphur Dioxide pollution releasing over 1.9 million tonnes of the gas over the Arctic tundra.

A LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY


The cleanup mission is expected to take weeks to begin and will cost roughly 100 billion roubles ($1.5 billion); the recovery will take over 10 years. 

The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has filed a criminal case for pollution and alleged negligence owing to the delay in informing Moscow about the spill. 

As of yet, only 340 tonnes of the 20,000 tonnes spilled oil has been restored, further compounding damage in the region, that is already a victim of the earth's rising temperatures.

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