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Current Affairs

Russian sea pollution forms massive slick

Date: 10 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Suspected toxic waste pollution off Russia's Kamchatka peninsula that caused the mass deaths of marine animals has formed a moving slick stretching 40 kilometres along the Pacific coastline.

 

Details

  • The pollution was between 100 and 300 metres wide in some places, had a green hue and was creating an unusual foam while floating south along the Russian coast.

  • The waste was previously thought to be stationary and confined mostly to one beach, but researchers said it was gradually moving south towards the contested Kuril Islands.

  • Locals sounded the alarm in late September as surfers experienced stinging eyes from the water and sea creatures including seals, octopuses and sea urchins washed up dead.

  • The most likely source was the Kozelsky site, 35 kilometres outside the region's main city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatksy and used since the Soviet era to store poisonous substances deep in the ground.

  • Several experts suggested that toxic rocket fuel such as heptyl or samin and melange from a nearby military facility could be responsible for the damage.

  • Tests have indicated the presence of fuel products but not in high enough concentrations to wipe out marine animals in such large numbers.

  • The death of fish and seabed creatures is dangerous for both sea birds and mammals. Sea otters that eat urchins and clams could be among the most affected animals.