We demand an open investigation into the environmental catastrophe in Kamchatka

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On September 29th, the first messages appeared on the Internet, drawing people’s attention to the state of the Khalaktyrsky Beach (Kamchatka Krai). Witnesses stated that the shore was covered with dead animals’ bodies. In addition, surfers complained about vision problems, symptoms of poisoning, and fever after contact with water. In a number of cases, after visiting a doctor, people were diagnosed with ocular chemical injuries. 

On September 30th, the Acting Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Kamchatka Krai reported, based on results of water sampling and quality assessments, that «... in one of the samples an excess of almost 4 times was found for oil products, in two samples - an excess of 2 times for phenols. During the extraction of samples, the glass of the chemical glassware was covered with an oily substance of a bright yellow color, which, may indicate the presence of a pollutant that is similar in properties to industrial oil

On October 1st, Kamchatka Interdistrict Environmental Prosecutor's Office initiated investigation of the information spreading on media concerning pollution of ocean water in the area of ​​Khalaktyrsky beach.

On October 2nd, the updated data of the chemical analysis of water samples confirmed an increase of approximately 2.5 times for phenols and 3.6 times for oil products.

On October 3rd, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Kamchatka Krai posted on Instagram the following statement: «The color of the water is normal, the smell of the air is normal, the beach is completely clean», which contradicts the testimony of divers claiming thousands of dead animals.

The fact that this pollution has been continuing for more than two weeks, despite the past two storms, may indicate that this is a leakage and not a one-time release of substance. Mass mortality of animals suggests that it can be an effect of a potent toxin.

Dead ringed seals, giant octopuses thrown out of the water were found on the shore, along with perished fish, mollusks, and sea urchins underwater. If the leakage does not stop, more animals of various species, from numerous invertebrates to large mammals such as killer whales, whose migratory routes pass close to the contaminated waters, could be affected.

Despite ongoing water quality assessments, the source and cause of the leakage remain unknown. Until it is detected and eliminated, the situation may worsen, and the destruction of the Kamchatka ecosystem will continue. In addition, with further development, the tragedy may spread to the water areas of the adjacent regions and/or the open sea, which lay beyond the territorial borders of Russian Federation. 

We demand the measures to be taken to identify and eliminate the causes of the accident!