A SMALL river in Norilsk, Russia has been photographed by local residents – and posted to social media – as running blood red, prompting an investigation from environmental authorities.
The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources received reports and images from residents on Tuesday that appeared to be unidentified chemical pollution colouring the water of the Daldykan river bright red. The ministry said that, according to preliminary information, a possible cause for the pollution could be due to a damaged slurry pipeline belonging to Norilsk Nickel.
Sergey Donskoy, head of the Ministry of Russia, has ordered a full investigation into the cause of the pollution.
Norilsk Nickel has denied the pollution was due to “accidental discharge” from its plant. The company said it is monitoring the area of the river adjacent to its facilities and is analysing samples of the river in cooperation with the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage. It hopes to have the results within a week.
Norilsk city was founded as a settlement for the Norilsk mining-metallurgic complex, near the largest nickel-copper-palladium deposits on Earth. Mining and smelting of nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, and palladium are the major industries.
Nickel ore is smelted on site at Norilsk and the smelting has been directly responsible for severe pollution, generally acid rain and smog over the years. NASA estimates that 1% of the entire global emissions of sulphur dioxide comes from the area.
“Heavy metal pollution near Norilsk is so severe that it is economically feasible to mine the soil, which has been polluted so severely that it has economic grades of platinum and palladium,” said NASA.
NASA captured a satellite image of a red spot in the Norilsk area in July 2000.
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