Arctic Circle oil spill prompts Putin to declare state of emergency #OilSpill #ArcticCircle #StateOfEmergency
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle.
The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed last Friday.
The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer.
The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.
Ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks is believed to have caused the spill. Arctic permafrost has been melting in exceptionally warm weather for this time of year.
President Putin expressed anger after discovering officials only learnt about the incident on Sunday.
Russian Minister for Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev told Mr Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill, before alerting his ministry.
The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site, turning long stretches of the Ambarnaya river crimson red.
In a televised video conference on Wednesday, Mr Putin criticised the head of the company over its response.
“Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?” he asked the subsidiary’s chief, Sergei Lipin. “Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?”
The region’s governor, Alexander Uss, had earlier told President Putin that he became aware of the oil spill on Sunday after “alarming information appeared in social media”.
The spill has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area, state media report.
In a statement, Norilsk Nickel said the incident had been reported in a “timely and proper” way.
The state of emergency means extra forces are going to the area to assist with the clean-up operation.
The accident is believed to be the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume, an expert from the World Wildlife Fund, Alexei Knizhnikov, told the AFP news agency.
What can be done?
The incident has prompted stark warnings from environmental groups, who say the scale of the spill and geography of the river mean it will be difficult to clean up.
Greenpeace has compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
Oleg Mitvol, former deputy head of Russia’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said there had “never been such an accident in the Arctic zone”.
He said the clean-up could cost 100bn roubles (£1.2bn; $1.5bn) and take between five and 10 years.
Courtesy of BBC News
#Indian govt issues ‘RED WARNING’ for #Delhi as capital & adjacent states shiver in ‘extreme #cold’
The government’s meteorological office issued the highest-level warning for the capital as Indians continue to struggle through what has been described as the second coldest December in a century.
The recent “red warning” by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) came as temperatures in Delhi plummeted to 2.8 Celsius (37.04 Fahrenheit) and is likely to drop further. ‘Red’ usually means “extreme weather conditions,”according to the agency.
It warned that “severe cold wave conditions,” dense fog, and hailstorms may hit the capital, but also the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Rajasthan during the last days of 2019.
To make matters worse, the air quality in Delhi was also described as “severe.” Officials predict that low temperatures coupled with high humidity, as well as a lack of surface winds, have led to an accumulation of pollutants.
Worsening weather has caused massive delays for several trains bound for Delhi and flights at the capital’s international airport. Bus lines have also experienced disruptions and traffic jams.
People across India have gathered around bonfires near streets and other public places. To cope with the emergency, local authorities have also made sure that shelters and firewood are provided to the population.
Local media also reports that at least 28 people may have died due to the cold in Uttar Pradesh, which is experiencing the coldest days of December this weekend.
The severe cold wave will last at least two more days, but the weather may improve a little around New Year’s, meteorologists say.
“We are expecting a marginal rise in temperature on December 31 and January 1, and rains from December 31 night, which is likely to relieve severe cold day conditions,” Kuldeep Shrivastava, the head of the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre in Delhi, was quoted by local media as saying.
Courtesy of rt.com
Thousands of dead #fish wash up ‘due to #pollution’ in #Manila, #Philippines
Polluted water has been blamed for the massive fish kill that lined the shores of the cities of Las Pinas and Paranaque in Southern Metro Manila in recent days.
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), tests conducted on water samples collected from the two cities showed low amounts of dissolved oxygen and other imbalances.
“The water quality test conducted in three sampling areas by BFAR’s National Fisheries Laboratory Division and BFAR 4A [Region 4A or the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon corridor] shows poor levels of dissolved oxygen and higher levels of ammonia and phosphates than the standard level,” BFAR said in a statement.
On October 9, residents were surprised to find thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of Las Pinas’ Long Island, and Paranaque’s Freedom Island, which are marine protected areas.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar ordered BFAR on the following day to assess the water quality in the area. Authorities were also able to collect about two tonnes of dead fish from the shores of the two cities.
Reports said that among the fish species found washed up on the shores were asuhos (silago), kanduli (marine catfish), butete (blowfish), sapsap (ponyfish), tilapia and barracuda.
Courtesy of gulfnews.com
10,000 #fish dead ‘due to #pollution’ in a in #Devon river, #UK
About 10,000 fish have been killed by an agricultural pollutant, the Environment Agency have said.
An investigation revealed roach and trout died in the River Mole, South Molton.
The Environment Agency said the source of the chemical-based pollutant which impacted 5km (3.1 mile) of a river had been identified and it would now be working out how it got into the river.
The results of the investigation should be released later this week.
There is no longer a danger of the pollution killing any more wildlife in the river because the officers on site got as much pollution out of the river as possible, the Environment Agency said.
It is continuing to restore oxygen levels to the river to protect wildlife.
Courtesy of BBC News
Emergency crews rush to #Frinton #seafront as people are struggling to breathe in #Essex, #UK
Emergency services have been called to an Essex seafront after several reports of people coughing and struggling to breathe.
Members of the public began reporting the incident at the seafront off Fourth Avenue in Frinton just after 2pm on Sunday.
People on the beach said they had been left struggling to breathe and Essex Police advised people not to go into the sea while the cause is investigated.
It was speculated online that a fuel spill had occurred but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said there was no immediate evidence after it sent a counter pollution aircraft to the scene.
Miriam Lansdell, who was visiting her parents in Essex, said: “My daughter started coughing. She said ‘I don’t feel good, it hurts to breathe in’. My other daughter was gasping and couldn’t form words because she couldn’t breathe well enough.”
The mental health worker, 45, said she also had problems breathing as she lay on the sand after taking a swim.
When they moved further away from the beach they all began to feel better but she took her 10-year-old girls to a clinic to be checked.
Her father had been told by someone in a speedboat that there may have been a fuel spill, Ms Lansdell said.
She said: “My dad said he had been asked to get out of the water by a man on a boat. He asked why and the man said there had been a fuel spill. He said if anyone is having breathing difficulties they should probably call an ambulance.
“It’s not what you expect when you go for a day out to the beach.”
One person tweeted that there were “lots of people coughing heavily”.
A mother said her son began coughing after swimming and had to be given his inhaler.
Another said: “We have just left Frinton and have seen lots of fire engines on the way out. Has there been an incident? We were on the beach and all developed a cough and were struggling to breathe.”
East of England Ambulance Service said people should wash themselves down if they were in the water, change their clothes and drink fresh water.
A spokeswoman added: “We are aware of an incident on Sunday 25 August with reports of a number of people suffering from coughing on the seafront off Fourth Avenue, Frinton.
“We are assisting the police and fire services with this incident. The cause is currently unknown.”
Anyone with further concerns is advised to call the NHS on 111.
Courtesy of Sky News