This half-sunken floating dock in the southern part of Murmansk harbor area is just one of hundreds of similar objects that are leaking toxic substances to the marine environment. (Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
Leakages of heavy metals, oil and other toxics from abounded and sunken ships along the coastline outside Murmansk are seriously polluting the water.
“There are almost no undamaged ecosystems along the coast of the bay,” says Murmansk first deputy Governor Alexey Tyukavin quoted by PortNews. Tyukavin talked about the Kola bay pollution at the 5th International Ecological Forum this week.
The ecological crisis is due to unauthorized discharges, neglected military bases and sunken vessels.
Kola bay, often referred to as Murmansk fjord, is a 57 kilometer long fjord from Murmansk in the south to the Barents Sea in the north. Its depth is 200 to 300 meter and most of the population and industrial activities are found on the eastern shores with towns as Murmansk and Severomorsk. The northern part of the bay are heavily militarized with several naval yards and the Northern fleets bases.
According to Alexey Tyukavin, the biggest problem for regional authorities in the work to clean up is that the bay area is federally owned. Owners of abounded vessels and shore properties can’t with current legislation be forced to pay for cleanup.
The company is closing down its biggest mine in the Kola Peninsula following plummeting raw material prices. Consequences will be dramatic for Zapolyarny, the industrial town located along the border to Norway.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
“This sends a clear message to Russia that things aren’t so good when it comes to basic journalistic values in Norway either” The firing of BarentsObserver’s Editor Thomas Nilsen has led to massive reactions from journalists and other protectors of press freedom.