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Yakutia’s companies spend billions of rubles on environmental issues

Regional companies have removed from the Arctic areas about 2,800 tonnes of scrap metal

YAKUTSK, December 27. /TASS/. Yakutia’s big companies allocated in the outgoing year almost eight billion rubles ($138 million) for the environment protection, including for utilization of facilities, which remained from the times of the Arctic’s development, the region’s Minister of Ecology Sakhamin Afanasyev told reporters on Wednesday.

"This year, Yakutia’s companies, including Alrosa, Almazy Anabara, Yakutskenergo and others, have invested 7.9 billion rubles in the environment protection," he said, adding most money was spent for construction of treatment facilities, improving the waste management system, and cutting emissions into the atmosphere.

The regional companies, he continued, have removed from the Arctic areas about 2,800 tonnes of scrap metal. "Over the time of the North’s development, the environmental damage has been significant," the minister said. "The biggest damage comes from scrap metal and from oil residues." This problem is vital not only for the Arctic districts, but also for the western areas, where the active industrial development continues, he added.

The region’s districts have joined the ecology protection. They have invested about 180 million rubles ($3 million). "They have been active, though it (ecology protection - TASS) is a responsibility of the federal and regional authorities," he said.

Yakutia has registered preliminary 437 locations of gained non-ferrous and black scrap metal, where more than 80% are in the region’s Arctic part. Greenpeace Russia in 2017 made a map of almost 400 unattended facilities, left from the Arctic’s development times, which now are ruins of scrap metal. The organization estimates clearing the territory could be worth hundreds million rubles.