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Piles of waste metal must be scrapped to save archipelago ecology

October 07, 2011, 11:20 UTC+3
In the 1990s the activity of military in region was rolled back and all that could not be evacuated was dumped
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MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) — Over 400,000 oil drums must be scrapped and collapsing depots and leaking fuel depots must be removed in order to ecologically rehabilitate the Arctic archipelago Franz Josef Land.

This means that over 27,000 tons of waste metal must be scrapped. This was said on Thursday at a news conference, devoted to first results of an expedition to the archipelago within the framework of the “Ecological Rehabilitation of the Arctic Region” programme.

The main environmental problem of the region is hundreds of thousands of metal barrels for petroleum products, tons of metal scrap and different kinds of broken down hardware.

“The peak of the presence of military was in the 1960-1970s,” said Gleb Fetisov, Director of the Council for Productive Forces Studies of the Russian Ministry for Economic Development and the Russian Academy of Sciences, which organized the expedition. “But in the 1990s the activity of military was rolled back. All that could not be evacuated was dumped,” he said.

Dilapidated depots and oil drums scattered about the archipelago have remained. The number of drums approaches 400,000. “No country can afford to have a zone of such ecological disaster on such a territory,” Fetisov stressed.

From July to September, the ecological expedition of the Council examined the territory of the archipelago, taking probes, measuring the amount of different chemical elements in air, water and soil. Upon their return back, scientists will process the information and offer methods to deal with the situation. The cost of the expedition was 110 million roubles.

Data received during the expedition will provide the basis for the program to revive archipelago islands.

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