I think everyone can agree the weather has been absolutely crazy. With the United States experiencing polar vertex freezes while Australia saw record-breaking highs and wildfires, in the midst of everything, Siberia trumps us all, with residents reporting layers of toxic black snow.
Nope, this isn’t some weird hoax or illusion. Nasty, black snow has indeed been falling from the sky— and as interesting as it may be, there’s a sinister side to the phenomenon.
The photos of the black snow have been stemming from the Kemerovo region of Southwest Siberia in the Kuznetsk Basin.
According to reports, this area is widely known as the nation’s coal mining center, with the practice deeply embedded in the area’s culture and lore. In fact, the Kemerovo region boasts an indoor/outdoor coal mining museum as its biggest tourist attraction. While coal-mining has no doubt served the area well economically, residents are now seeing the horrific environmental impacts in the form of toxic black snow.
Residents in Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk (the cities that have been layered with the snow) are blaming the nearby coal plant, saying officials failed to sufficiently filter the fumes. Andrei Panov, deputy governor of Kemerovo region, agrees with this assessment but is also pointing the finger towards coal boilers, car exhausts, and other coal plants. Realizing the extent of the pollution has been eye-opening for many residents. One citizen told the Siberian Times (quoted by Fox News): “The government bans smoking in public. But let us inhale coal dust all together and let it reside in our lungs.”
“No cleansing systems, all the waste, dust, and dirt lay in the area.”
“Our children and us are breathing it. It’s just a nightmare.”
According to reports, the dust from the coal plants contains “a range of heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, which represent a health hazard and environmental threat.” And indeed, a 2015 Ecodefense report noted that the Kemerovo region has a life expectancy three times shorter than the Russian national average, with cases of tuberculosis and other conditions doubling the same baseline.
Sadly, this isn’t the only controversy regarding the black snow. Last December, authorities were accused of trying to hide the blackened snowfall by covering it with white paint, Moscow Times reported. In a video published to YouTube, a woman’s hand is seen covered in white paint after touching a snow bank outside of a municipal recreation center. “You can see the stains… It even sticks,” she said in the footage:
This snowfall truly is a disturbing reminder of the impact humans can have on the world.
Watch the video below.
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