Russia pledges to clean up industrial waste in Arctic

17:30, April 29, 2010      

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Russia is planning to clean up the industrial and toxic waste in the Arctic region, where the pollution level is six times higher than the normal, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday

"Some 40,000 to 60,000 tons of fuel and lubricants are 'stored' here, and the Arctic region needs a thorough clean-up," the Itar-Tass news agency cited Putin, who is on a trip to Franz Joseph Land archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Results of scientific expeditions showed thousands of barrels containing used lubricants, as well as plane, car and other wreckage have been piled up in the Arctic region for years, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia's reduction of military cooperation.

Putin stressed that the environment of Arctic region has a strategic importance for Russia.

"Arctic hosts our naval bases and aviation patrol routes. There are also economic interests, natural resources. Stockman (one of the largest gas fields in the world) is just 300 kilometers from here. Major transport communication of the Northern Sea route are here," he said.

"Nature is vulnerable here. If temperatures rise by three to four degrees, the problems we see now will aggravate," he warned.

Putin called for businesses to join the clean-up project.

"This should be done in private-state partnership. Yet it is the state that must make the first moves -- to determine the specifics and scope of problems and decide on the recycling method. It must be done in the near future," Putin said.

Source: Xinhua


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