Disastrous oil spill in Komi region could have been avoided

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Feature story - 20 June, 2013
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev supported on Tuesday Greenpeace’s idea to introduce criminal punishment for concealing oil spills.

 

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev supported on Tuesday Greenpeace’s idea to introduce criminal punishment for concealing oil spills.

Ivan Blokov, Campaign Director at Greenpeace Russia told Medvedev at a meeting of the expert council on ecology that Russia accounts for more than 50% of all global oil spills. About 5 million tons of oil pollutes soil and water annually, but only 5,000 tons of this oil is reported. As an example Blokov told about recent oil spill on Kolva river in Komi region.

The spill occurred in November 2012, but the company Rusvietpetro concealed it. In late May 2013 as the snow started melting the contamination was flowing down Kolva and Usa rivers. Only 3 days after local people complained emergency ministry reacted.

By now 150 workers have collected 400 cubic meters of oil slime, about 200 kilometers of coastline are still contaminated with oil. Indigenous Komi people from local village are left without fish and clean water for many years.

If the company had reported about the accident in due time, most of these catastrophic consequences could have been prevented.

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