Oil spill Threatens White Sea Ecosystem

Barents Observer
Friday, May 11, 2012

Oil from the Belomorsk Oil Base leaks into the White Sea nature reserve

Barents Oberver reports that the recently discovered oil spill now threatens marine life and sea birds in the White Sea, the unique Arctic waters in Russia’s northwest.

The magnitude of the spill remains unknown, but environmentalists fear for the worst. Last year’s spill, which took place at the same time of year, polluted more than 210,000 square meters of waters and 400 square meters of the coastline.

While the Belomorsk Oil Base in 2011 put out oil booms, it is not able to do so this year because the bay is not yet ice-free,say WWF Russia.

According to Aleksey Smirnov, chairman of the Murmansk regional Committee on Environment and Nature Management, the oil leakages to the sea come from the numerous of spill which over the years have run into the adjacent land. In springtime, the oil runs into the sea as the snow melts.

The Committee on Environment and Nature Management now demands that a number of measures are taken to prevent new spills. The oil base should be completely sealed off from the coast with the construction of a major artificial barrier around the industrial facilities. However, the oil base is unlikely to have the necessary finances for the project, TV Murman reports.

About 70 percent of the White Sea is included a protected nature reserve. More than 370 islands and a rich fauna and flora with as many as 9500 different animal and bird species are located in the area, Murmansk Vestnik informs.


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