Arctic Circle Oil Spill: A State Of Emergency
20,000 Tons of Diesel Fuel Spilled Across 12 Km inside the River
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after around 20,000 tons of liquid diesel leaked from an oil tanker into a river in the Arctic Circle. This Arctic Circle oil spill occurred at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk, which is located 1,800 miles from the country’s capital Moscow. The event occurred last Friday, and the diesel fuel is spreading inside the river for the last seven days.
Spreading of diesel into a river
The director of the power plant located near the Arctic Circle oil spill has been taken into custody by the law enforcement officers until 31 July. The director Vyacheslav Starostin has not been charged yet of any crime. The power plant is owned and operated by the sub-division of Norilsk Nickel, an organization that is the leading producer of palladium and nickel. The company has been accused of producing the heaviest pollutants across the world.
President Putin has criticized the director of the Norilsk Nickel division, who is the owner of the power plant near the Arctic Circle oil spill, as the company did not report the incident to the required authorities on time. The authorities mentioned the Arctic Circle oil spill two days later, for which a criminal case has been set in motion regarding excessive pollution and supposed negligence of informing the officials in Moscow. The power plant company tried to control the oil spill by its own resources for two days before they reported the incident to the concerning authorities.
It is believed that the Arctic Circle oil spill has been due to the ground subsidence present underneath the diesel fuel tank. The diesel fuel has contaminated the area of 350 square feet. The arctic permafrost is melting due to the warm weather temperature in the area in this season of the year.
President Vladimir Trump was angry as he got the alarming details regarding the Arctic Circle oil spill from social media. The power plant managing authorities have replied that they had reported the news in a proper and timely manner.
This is not the first incident of Norilsk Nickel, as the company has been previously responsible for turning river water into bright red in 2016.
Cleaning of the oil spill
A nationwide state of emergency has been declared by Putin in order to clean the Arctic Circle oil spill before the situation gets worse. This large amount of diesel fuel is very hard to clean due to which several environmental experts have been called for combined efforts to complete the task. The recent 20,000-ton diesel spill is 4 times larger than the Kerch spill in 2007, a 5,000-ton fuel spill into the Black Sea, which required the resources of military and thousands of volunteer workers.
The molecular structure of diesel is different than oil, making it lighter than water and is usually evaporated into the air. But during this process, the water content underneath the diesel fuel will be overloaded with toxic components, making it harder to clean.
The environmental minister of Russia gave the suggestion of burning diesel fuel floating over the water, but this procedure is very risky as the increased temperature in an arctic circle could become catastrophic. The leader diesel fuel has drifted 12 km from the spill site, polluting the entire body of water underneath it.
The cleanup of the area could cost around $1.5 billion, and the time duration required to clean up the Arctic Circle oil spill could take around five to ten years. The Russian minister of Natural resources proposed the idea of diluting the oil with multiple reagents.