The New Satellite Images Show Arctic River Turned Red from Diesel Spill

Newly released satellite images show the extensive damage caused by the 20,000-ton (22,000-ton) diesel spill that occurred in the Arctic Circle earlier this week, which was declared a state of emergency by Russian officials. The animation, captured by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, shows the crimson-colored diesel oil spinning on May 32 and the following day on the banks of the Ambarnaya River – two days after the world’s largest nickel-owned diesel fuel tank, reportedly released May 29. , IFLScience reported at the time. After the leak, a car driven by the spill site caught fire.

Alexey Knizhnikov with WWF-Russia in a statement, “Diesel fuel is more toxic than oil, and at the moment the situation seems to be so big that we cannot expect an efficient level of cleanliness without the contribution of the federal level.” “I would like to remind you that according to the laws of the Russian Federation, oil spills amount to 5,000 tons (5,511 tons) – this is a federal level concern.”

Anatoly Tsykalov, deputy prime minister of the Krasnoyarsk Territory government, told reporters that the spill was not believed to have reached the body of water, but that confirmation would depend on laboratory tests. Diesel has leaked into the environment and polluted water and soil. The Russian news agency reported, “Three criminal cases have been launched on charges of land degradation, water pollution and violation of environmental protection rules.

Contaminants found in the surrounding water are reported to be above a few thousand permitted levels and at least 252 people and two vehicles are working to clean the area. 

As of June 5, Nornickel reported that a total of 30 tons (400 tons) of contaminated soil and 400 tons (440 tons) of diesel fuel had been collected from the surrounding area, as well as 136 tons (150 tons) of diesel fuel from the riverbed. Environmentalists argue that is not enough.

Vladimir Chuprov, project director of the Russian Greenpeace said, “If we apply the methodology of the Ministry of Natural Resources to assess the environmental damage in water bodies, the loss could be 6 billion rubles. And that’s without taking into account the growing factors.”With the installed boom, only a small fraction of the pollution can be collected, so it can be argued that almost all diesel fuel will remain in the environment.”

According to a NASA Earth Observatory note, the Ambarnaya River is an important tributary of the Kara Sea and has been identified as a climate indicator when it comes to measuring carbon released from arctic plants and soil substances. The former Soviet Union once dumped nuclear waste and materials into the shallow seas of Novaya Zemlya, yet a report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1992 found that dumped wastes were “smaller than comparable doses” compared to natural sources.