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Friday, September 9, 2016

Norilsk: Red River Valley for Real

Norilsk Landscape   (Public Domain)
A popular slogan from the mid-20th century was “Better dead than red.”  “Red” referred to communism, and in particular to the Soviet Union.

These days, parts of Russia are literally turning red.  NPR reports that the Daldykan River, which flows through the Siberian mining town of Norilsk, “has suddenly and mysteriously turned blood red.”

Some say that this red color comes from a large amount of naturally-occurring iron in the nearby ground.  Others hold a more ominous point of view.  They suspect a break in the pipeline from a huge local factory, Norilsk Nickel.  “Waste copper-nickel concentrate” might therefore be leaking into the river.

Despite governmental confirmation of the river’s red color, Norilsk Nickel insists that “the river and its mainstream are in regular condition.”

Although "area residents don't drink this water,” there is plenty of cause for alarm.  Vladimir Chouprov of Greenpeace Russia explains:  The Arctic ecosystem is extremely vulnerable; scars of human impact need decades or even centuries to amend.


Copyright September 9, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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