Several weeks ago, residents of Russia’s Kuzbass region began posting videos and images to social media of the snow falling over their towns. The reason? The snow was midnight black.
After investigating the issue, local police opened a criminal case against a coal-processing plant in the area on Monday, which had allegedly been pumping so much unfiltered coal dust into the atmosphere that it caused the snow to look like volcanic ash.
The following day, the region’s governor announced that he was closing the plant temporarily — though Russia’s pollution woes are far from over.
According to a story published by the AFP on Tuesday, prosecutors found that the Cherkasovskaya coal-processing plant committed “long-term, systematic” violations of limits on air pollution and didn’t filter its coal dust at all before pumping it into the atmosphere.
Based on lab tests, the pollution levels in the city of Kiselyovsk were more than double limits considered safe.
“You are killing yourself and you are killing all your people who work for you and you are also killing everything around you,” Kuzbass regional governor Sergei Tsivilyov said in televised comments on Tuesday, according to the AFP.
Hopefully, the closing of the Cherkasovskaya plant will help with Kiselyovsk’s air issues. But other regions in Russia continue to battle their own pollution problems.
While black snow has been falling on several cities in the Kuzbass region, green snow has been pummeling the Russian city of Pervouralsk — and it’s reportedly causing a host of health problems.
Many blame the strange phenomenon on chemicals from a local chrome factory, but factory spokesperson Vsevolod Oreshkin denied the allegations with some incredibly not-reassuring comments to ND News.
“It’s a routine situation for residents that should not cause alarm. Does not threaten lives or health of adults and children,” Oreshkin said. “It’s Pervouralsk. There are a whole variety of industrial enterprises here. If we take samples of snow in any place we will see a multitude of dangerous substances.”
READ MORE: Black snow falls on Siberia blamed on “killer” coal industry [AFP]