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International scientists asked to join Kamchatka eco disaster research amid conflicting theories

By Svetlana Skarbo, Olga Gertcyk
13 October 2020

Governor invites US, Japanese and Chinese experts while Russian scientists insist it was toxic algae not pollution that killed marine life.

Russian Ministry of Emergencies's specialists pictured taking water samples at the Kamchatka peninsula beaches

The governor of Kamchatka region called for international researchers to join the investigation of the major environmental catastrophe that caused the mass death of marine life off the peninsula’s coast. 

‘The Kamchatka region faces a challenging environmental situation which involves the mass death of marine animals and hydrobionts in Avacha Bay of the Pacific Ocean. 

‘The causes of this phenomenon remain unclear. 

‘We invite you to consider the possibility of joining the research group and help us to identify the causes of the pollution of the Pacific Ocean near Kamchatka.

'The research group will work remotely and examine the available analyses results and hypotheses of our scientists’, Vladimir Solodov wrote in his appeal to the scientists.

Call for international scientists to join research into Kamchatka eco disaster amid conflicting theories
Water sampling in rivers of the Kamchatka peninsula. Picture: Podyem


 A group of Russian scientists said that according to their research it was the so-called Red Tide - the rapid activation of toxic algae - that killed marine life.

‘There is no clarity yet, but the toxic algae version is taking the lead. One of our next tasks would be to organise expeditions to find out what led to the activation of the algae’, said Alexey Ozerov, director of Kamchatka-based Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The same version was supported by Andrey Adrianov, vice president of Russian Academy of Sciences. 

A red tide is a generic term for a phenomenon caused by blooming algae releasing strong toxins which discolour the water and deplete oxygen in the water. Up to 95% of marine animals were killed at the Avacha Gulf according to the earlier probes, with the local community of surfers who were the first ones to flag the alarming situation complaining about throat aches, headaches and temporary worsening eyesight. 

The version of the harmful effects of volcanic and seismological activity has been ruled out, since the volcanoes that are now erupting are located at a distance of 300-400 kilometers from the water area, Russian experts said. 

Call for international scientists to join research into Kamchatka eco disaster amid conflicting theories


Call for international scientists to join research into Kamchatka eco disaster amid conflicting theories


Call for international scientists to join research into Kamchatka eco disaster amid conflicting theories
Russian Ministry of Emergencies's specialists pictured taking water samples at the Kamchatka peninsula beaches 


Rosprirodnadzor, Russia’s environment watchdog has reported excess of phosphates in the coastal waters by 10.8 times, iron by 7.2 times, phenols by 6.9 times and ammonium by 6.2 times.

At least one ship has been found to be dumping polluted waste into the water according to satellite monitoring. Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case into pollution of the marine environment.

So far the version of the military waste site built in Soviet times by the Kozelsky volcano causing the pollution was ruled out, said Alexey Ozerov as he called for further research of other waste sites in the area. 

‘We cannot exclude the harmful effect of the substances that are buried at the Prilivnaya Bay, for example’, the scientist said.

Results of the divers expedition to the south of the Kamchatka peninsula that set off on 11 October should be released soon. 

Kamchatka governor's letter to international scientists, and a video made by scientists of the Far Eastern Federal University to show the aerial view of the Kamchatka peninsula's bays

Russian Ministry of Emergencies's specialists pictured taking water samples at the Kamchatka peninsula beaches

Comments (1)

its FUKUSHIMA MELTDOWS the did a massive flush and the cores have melted into the sea
kevin d. blanch , United states
14/10/2020 00:41
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