I chanced upon this article written by Anna Kireeva on 11 August 2016, just three days ago. The content was intriguing and i would like to share my comments on this perceptive article. The article can be found on http://bellona.org/news/industrial-pollution/the-kola-mining-and-metallurgy-combine/2016-08-norwegian-politicians-and-citizens-call-norilsk-nickel-dirtiest-industry-in-the-arctic .
Just a brief introduction on Bellona. It’s an independent non-profit organisation targeted at fighting climatic changes, including industrial pollution.
The article entitled “Norwegian politicians and citizens call Norilsk Nickel ‘dirtiest industry in the Arctic’ ” has shone light on the trans-boundary nature and persistent nature of industrial pollution. The residents along the Norwegian-Russian border has suffered the harmful effects of sulfur dioxide emission from the Russian Kola Penninsula’s Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company’s industrial complex towns, but two-decades down the road, the issue has not been solved politically.
Figure 1: A view from inside the town of Nikel (Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
One of the causes of persistent industrial pollution in this area can be seen from the lack of political resolve. It is mentioned that “not a single high-level meeting between Russian and Norwegian officials fails to mention the pollution problem – without producing any results”, confirmed by a Norwegian parliamentarian. This shows that the politicians are indeed aware of the pollution issue, but have spent prolonged period of time on talking and not achieving anything. However, due to this being a regional issue, the personnel involved are multi-faceted and each have their own interests at heart, hence rendering the pollution issue in this area to be unresolved after twenty-six years. As such, due to the lack of policies in place to control the pollution, the pollution caused by the industries have been exacerbated over years, and would take a even stronger resolve to actually curb the pollution between the Norwegian-Russia border. Therefore, in my opinion, it takes two hands to clap to reduce and improve the environmental issues in the region.
Another highlight of the article is that €100 million to €125 million is needed to build a new environmentally-friendlier plant in accordance to the ecological demand, which is the same cost of the private yacht of the Vladimir Potanin, major shareholder of Norilsk Nickel. This once again highlight the self-motivations of the industrial owners, they value their self-interest above the health of the public and employees, whom are living and working near the industrial plants. This is in tune with the business mindset of the operators where they want to avoid high cost and expenditure, depending on their cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, it’s increasingly important to educate and create awareness on the harmful effects of the pollutants emitted. For example, the sulfur dioxide emissions in the area exceed six to eight times the allowable limits, which prove to be extremely harmful to the health of the people nearby.
I will be discussing on the “why” of industrial pollution — the causes — in my next post, so stay tune.
Bellona. (n.d.). About Bellona. Retrieved from http://bellona.org/about-bellona
Kireeva, A. (2016, August 11). Norwegian politicians and citizens call Norilsk Nickel ‘dirtiest industry in the Artic’. Retrieved from http://bellona.org/news/industrial-pollution/the-kola-mining-and-metallurgy-combine/2016-08-norwegian-politicians-and-citizens-call-norilsk-nickel-dirtiest-industry-in-the-arctic