Russia to conclude first Arctic cleanup

An environmental cleanup project in Russia’s northern Taimyr Peninsula will conclude today. The project—part of Russia’s larger Clean Arctic project

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Photo: TASS

An environmental cleanup project in Russia’s northern Taimyr Peninsula will conclude today.

The project—part of Russia’s larger Clean Arctic project launched in 2010—saw volunteers collect trash from 30 kilometers of coastline surrounding the Yenisei river and demolish abandoned buildings of a Soviet-era fish processing plant to repurpose the materials.

This project follows a larger cleanup effort that began in 2020 after melting permafrost caused more than 15,000 tons of diesel fuel to be released into the Ambarnaya River near Norilsk, threatening to pollute a large portion of pristine Arctic wilderness.

Following President Vladimir Putin’s fury at the slow response of officials and the scale of the Ambarnaya River spill, expect more political support and funding for arctic cleanup efforts to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. While Russia has historically favored economic growth over environmental safety, recent incidents of major pollution have prompted a greater focus on arctic preservation by Moscow. Based on a recent statement by Clean Arctic representative Andrei Nagibin, expect the project to be extended for at least ten years until a full cleanup is complete. Without a substantial shift in the Russian economy away from reliance on the arctic, a complete cleanup is unlikely.

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