Cleans up Franz Josefs Land

Vladimir Putin visited Franz Josef Land in 2010. (Photo:

Russia plans to spend 640 million rubles in 2013 on removal of polluting waste from the Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land.


The area is to hold some 100 000 tons of waste and scrap like barrels of oil products and old military equipment like cars, aircrafts and radar installations. 

In the period between the early 1930s and 1990, Franz Josef Archipelago saw intensive civilian and military development, which left it badly polluted. Visiting the archipelago in 2010, then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described it as a ‘giant rubbish tip’ and highlighted the need for high environmental standards in the region and called for “comprehensive clean-up operations” of the Soviet-era industrial wastes.

Since then there have been various expeditions to Franz Josef Land and other places in the Arctic to determine the dimensions of the work that needs to be done. 2012 marked the start of the clean-up, with 8,000 tons of waste, including 70,000 barrels of fuel and about 3,000 tons of lubricants being removed from Franz Josef Land. The plans for 2013 includes removal of approximately the same amount of trash, RIA Novosti writes. 

This summer a group of students from the University of Arkhangelsk will spend two months removing trash on the archipelago. The project is sponsored by the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, the Sevmorgeo Marine Geological Prospecting Company and the Russian Arctic National Park, which owns the area. In all, 30 students will be selected for the project after a competition, the university’s web site reads.