Environmental Catastrophe In The Arctic

Environmental Catastrophe In The Arctic

It seems like another “mishandling” from Russia has happened again! When it comes to managed and disclosed catastrophic environmental event like the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor whom without knowing from the world was happening if it wasn’t for a journalist to sound the alarm after a week a cloud of radioactive floating all over the western Europe.

We are now faced with another situation located this time in the Artic. MMC MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, Russia’s biggest miner, didn’t make a public statement until two days after the May 29 accident, which leaked over 20,000 tons (150,000 barrels) of diesel into a fragile Arctic river system.

Thanks to social media the images of the catastrophe has gone viral. It looks like the lack of upgrade in the infrastructure might has been the cause of the leak.

Again, Nornickel whose biggest shareholder is none other than Vladimir Potanin the richest man in Russia. He has been scolded publicly by the governor of the region made a public report to a visibly irritated Putin. The report is clearly stating the cause of the leak is the lack of upgrading the thank before it leaked.

Nornickel has long been criticized for ignoring environmental issues. A small investment in the tank might have prevented the spill, which now threatens extinction for many fish, birds and mammals unique to Siberia’s Taimyr Peninsula, a senior official said. Putin was very angry over the spill, according to the person, who asked not to be identified in order to speak candidly.

The accident could become a catalyst for the president to push through long-stalled environmental regulations targeting Russia’s aging energy infrastructure, the person said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t respond to a request for comment.

This isn’t the first time the company’s pollution problem has wounded Russia’s environmental reputation. Its main assets are located in Norilsk, one of the country’s dirtiest cities. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has blacklisted Nornickel since 2009 for the damage it has done in the Taimyr Peninsula.

What is clear is the size of the spill is unprecedented. Greenpeace compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska. Nornickel estimates it will cost $150 million to clean up.

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, has at least 10,000 oil spills annually, according to Vladimir Chuprov, the head of Greenpeace Russia’s energy program. The accidents are concentrated in the country’s sprawling oil pipeline system, at least half of which is past its useful life, Chuprov said.

The situation is growing more critical as permafrost melts due to climate change. With more than half of Russia’s land permanently frozen, vast swaths of the country has infrastructure at risk as the ground thaws.

So the question remain what would it take to clean up the mess but also how the stale regulation in Russia Oil can be improved to preserved the fragile Eco-system and forces companies like Nornickel to upgrade all of their infrastructures from tanks to pipelines? With such situation happening and again not being reported to the rest of the world. We are faced with unprecedented Eco-system damages that might takes years to fixed. Not having sufficient equipment to run properly pipelines and also emergency clean up equipment continues to plague the situation.