Oil Contamination Damage on Russian Environment Grows Five Times in a Year

Environmental damage from oil contamination grew to 5.1 billion rubles ($80.5 million) in 2018 from one billion ($15.8 million) in 2017, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources said in its latest report cited by Izvestia.

Russia’s environmental watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, (Rosprirodnadzor) told the paper that the reason behind the rising number of violations is due to the dilapidated state of pipelines and equipment that produce, ship and store oil products. Besides, companies often violate rules and illegally tap into oil pipelines. The lion’s share of environmental legislation violations are reported in the Southern, Siberian and Urals federal districts.

Companies working in central and southern Russia are among the worst in terms of environmental damage. State spending on environmental protection in 2018 reached 34.3 billion rubles ($541 million), the ministry reported. However, the cost of adverse environmental effects hit 13.1 billion ($206.7 million).

Experts interviewed by Izvestia also blame climate change for the growing volume of polluting emissions. They believe that the government should step up environmental activism.

Georgy Safonov, head of the Higher School of Economics’ Center for Economy of Environment and Natural Resources, explains that the past eight years have been the warmest across the world and in Russia. Last year was especially warm in the Arctic region, where major Russian oil production and transportation is based. The entire oil and gas infrastructure built there some 40-50 years ago was affected by this warm weather. Its destruction leads to various abuses, including oil spills, he noted.

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