If you were to look out of the window and see black snow falling on the ground, what would your first thought be?
Mine would be ‘oh my god there’s an apocalypse’, followed swiftly by ‘I’m not prepared for this in the slightest’, before I ended up curled up in hysterics on the floor.
But hopefully, people in Siberia weren’t as dramatic as that recently, when black snow fell from the sky and covered the ground in an almost gothic fashion.
The black snow was spotted in the Kemerovo region of south-west Siberia in the Kuznetsk Basin, which is the country’s coal-mining centre, IFL Science reports.
Videos and images of the area show the ground covered in the black snow, as well as cars and the roofs of buildings, giving an overall surreal look.
But as magical as the snow might seem, there’s actually a sinister reason behind it. Because while the area’s coal resources serve it well from a tourism perspective – their coal mining museum is listed as one of the Kemerovo’s top attractions – and a job perspective, it’s actually a major cause of pollution.
Black Snow Falls in Russia
Worried residents of a coalmining region in Siberia have been posting videos and photos today showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe. #metalertireland pic.twitter.com/8uriBjcMfW
— ☀Metalert Ireland☀ (@MetAlertIreland) February 15, 2019
So the ‘snow’ which has covered cities Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk this week is actually cause for major concern.
Already, fingers have been pointed with many blaming a nearby coal plant for the sudden appearance of black snow. As reported by the Siberian Times, local reports say the plant has failed to sufficiently filter fumes.
Appearing to confirm this, the director general of Prokopyevskaya factory, Anatoly Volkov, explained to TV channel Vesti-KUzbass that a shield did stop working at his plant, which protects the air from coal powder.
#Russia is a country of outstanding natural beauty and diversity. But the sheer lack of environmental regulations is a devastating effect for residents in #Kuzbass, where last night there was BLACK SNOW. pic.twitter.com/zMiEWBJbnh
— Khodorkovsky Center (@mbk_center) February 14, 2019
Residents have reportedly pinned the blame on various other plants as well, claiming there is a long-term lack of environmental protection for the area.
However, the deputy governor of Kemerovo region, Andrei Panov – who is in charge of ecology – met with environmentalists to discuss the matter, suggesting the plant is not the only cause of the problem.
In fact, he suggested that other things such as car exhausts, coal boilers, and other coal-burning plants were also to blame. Which, in my opinion, is still just as bad.
Hopefully something will be done to protect the residents of the area from black carbon emissions soon, before there are long-term health concerns.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).