Russian rocket fuel leak most likely cause of underwater marine animal deaths in Kamchatka peninsula, Russia

 
 

I discovered this incident through my social media channels and have been following it closely ever since, this is an intensely beautiful and remote region of Russia with a diverse underwater natural biodiversity.

Isn't it time that 'criminal acts' of this nature caused through sheer negligence and the 'inconvenience' of due diligence at maintaining large storage facilities is brought to account around the world. This is not an isolated incident, not only in Russia but all around the globe where commercial and government facilities wilfully damage the environment and then cover it all up to the great sufferance of its local people and of the natural world.

Below you will see a collection of news transcripts with relevant links to sources.

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A suspected large spillage of toxic chemicals on the coast of far east Russia has wiped out almost all marine life on the area’s seabed, scientists have said.

Divers who inspected the waters off a 25-mile stretch of Kamchatka peninsula reported that 95 per cent of creatures on the ocean floor were dead; findings they said confirmed fears of an “environmental disaster” with a potentially devastating long-term impact.

The pollution was first reported by local surfers, who suffered eyesight problems and apparent chemical burns after entering the water last month. Sea creatures including seals, octopi, starfish and urchins have since washed up dead on the region’s shores.

Russia’s Investigative Committee on Wednesday bowed to pressure and launched a criminal investigation to establish the source of the unexplained pollution, after the Kremlin initially downplayed the disaster and denied any manmade cause.

 

The pollution seems to have badly hit the sea creatures that live at the bottom of the seafloor, wiping out as much as 95% of them in Kamchatka's Avacha Bay, Ivan Usatov, a researcher at the Kronotsky Reserve and the Pacific Institute of Geography Kamchatka Gov. Vladimir Solodov, according to the Kamchatka government website. Usatov and other researchers studied the area around Avacha Bay by taking samples and diving to the sea-floor. "Some large fish, shrimps, crabs have survived, but in very small numbers," Usatov said. But "the condition of marine mammals and birds is normal. On the shore, we also did not find any emissions of large dead sea animals, birds." 

The event will severely disrupted the food chain in the area as the animals that feed on those bottom-dwelling creatures will also die, the researchers said.

Last week, government officials quickly blamed the scores of dead animals on stormy weather. But a recent analysis of water samples revealed that it was contaminated with a number of potentially dangerous substances. The samples contained petroleum products, some of which were at levels that were four times above normal, Aleksei Kumarkov, the region's acting Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology said, according to CBS News.


The water also had more than twice the expected levels of compounds called phenols, which can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, throat and nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At high enough doses, phenols can cause liver or kidney damage, skin burns, tremors, convulsions and twitching, according to the CDC.

There are "no grounds to talk about any specific version" of what might have killed all of these animals, Solodov told reporters at a news conference on Monday (Oct. 5), according to CBS News.


Solodov posted on Instagram that he would lead a "transparent" investigation into the issue and fire any official who tries to cover up the scale of the pollution. As part of this investigation, he said there would be investigations on Tuesday (Oct. 6) at two military testing sites, Radygino and Kozelsky, both near a local river with "yellow film" on it, according to sources at The Guardian.

Containers holding old rocket fuel stored in Radygino, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the sea, could have rusted, leaking fuel into the water, Vladimir Burkanov, a biologist said in Russia’s opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, according to The Guardian. Kozelsky, where toxic chemicals and pesticides are buried,  could have also had a leak, according to The Guardian. Multiple different groups are continuing to investigate the incident.
Originally published on Live Science.

 

LIVE SCIENCE - https://www.livescience.com/dead-animals-russia-beach-pollution.html#:~:text=Researchers%20report%20that%20up%20to,5.&text=It%20turns%20out%20an%20unidentified,according%20to%20recent%20news%20reports.

BBC - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54420508

THE GUARDIAN - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/05/marine-poisoning-in-kamchatka-russia-may-be-rocket-fuel-leak