20,000 tons of oil spill in the Arctic Circle

Photo: BBC News

Siberia, Russia– the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency in the Arctic region where the city of Norilsk is located after a massive spill of diesel oil into a river within the Arctic Circle.

The leak was said to be caused after a fuel tank collapsed at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk on Friday. The power plant is owned by a subsidiary of the worlds leading nickel and palladium producer, Norilsk Nickel.

The officials of the power plant tried to contain the spill themselves for the past two days before alerting the minister. However, by the time the news reached up to the higher authorities and Mr. Putin, over 10,000 square meters of land had been affected by the oil spill.

At present, the leaked oil has drifted to estimatedly 12km (7.5 miles) from the site of the accident.

The Russian Investigating Committee (SK) launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as the incident was reported after a two-day delay to the  Moscow authorities about the oil spill. Furthermore, the director of the power plant, Vyacheslav Starostin was taken into custody regarding the oil spill until 31 July However, no charges has been taken so far.

Russian President Putin expressed anger during a teleconference on Wednesday after discovering that the news took several days to reach to the local authorities that too via social media.

According to Russia’s Federal Fisheries Service, it would take decades to restore the ecological balance in the affected bodies of water.

“It will take a lot of effort and several billions of Rubles to clean things up,” Campaign Director at Greenpeace Russia, Mr. Ivan Blokov stated. He also stated that it may take decades, perhaps hundreds of years for anything to grow in the contaminated areas of the river as it will be highly polluted.

“It’s one of those cases that there is no obvious good solution” Mr.Blokov said.