Rule No. 1 in Russia: Don’t keep Vladimir Putin out of the loop.
The Russian president employed a heavy dose of snark after learning secondhand about a massive fuel spill in the Siberian city of Norilsk.
“So what, we are going to learn about emergencies from social media now?” Putin griped to the energy station operator and the area’s governor. “Are you OK over there?”
Putin then ordered a state of emergency after the massive spillage of 20,000 tons of fuel from a power station, reported CNN.
One environmental group has called the damage “catastrophic” as the contaminant concentration in nearby waters has exceeded permissible levels tens of thousands of times over, according to Russian environmental agency Rosprirodnadzor.
Initially, station workers attempted to corral the spill on their own and didn’t report the leak for two days, said a Russian minister.
The utility’s parent company, Nornickel, said the foundation of the storage tank possibly collapsed due to thawing permafrost, spotlighting the peril caused by warming temperatures on Arctic infrastructure, reported TASS.
“Right now we can assume . . . that due to abnormally mild summer temperatures recorded in the past years, permafrost could have melted and the pillars under the platform could have sank,” said Nornickel chief operating officer Sergey Dyachenko.
It could take weeks just to create a cleanup team, warned local officials, adding that selecting individuals with significant experience could be challenging.
Also hindering the problem is that no roadways exist near the spill site, nor is its nearby river navigable, according to CNN.
Through the first four months of this year, Northern Asia has experienced a staggering warming trend of approximately seven degrees hotter than usual temperatures, according to CNN.
More alarming, the Arctic region is warming about twice as fast as the rest of Earth due to global warming, climatologists warn.
In 2018, Norilsk was the planet’s No. 1 sulfur dioxide pollution site, according to a NASA study, which claimed the city belches a whopping 1.9 million tons of noxious gas into the air annually.