Kamchatka, Russia – sea life dying in droves, people going blind
A conversation has started in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, located at the easternmost point of Russia, on the Kamchatska Peninsula, about an environmental catastrophe. The likely culprit? The military.
“Everything had died at the bottom of the sea”
Here is what Kristina Rozenberg, a local of the area, has to say about it:
“Not far from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky there is a beach which works all year round. People go surfing and diving there. Since the middle of September people started complaining of itchy faces and pain in their eyes, but nobody really thought it was that important.
“Then someone’s eyes were burnt, and the water turned yellow, which had never happened before. The next weekend there was a storm. All of a sudden every dead thing in the water was thrown up to the surface, everything had been poisoned, which we just hadn’t seen before.
“Everything had died at the bottom. As if the fish had been boiled, the urchins were all dead”.
The government of Kamchatka has announced that they had taken samples from the ocean. Local inhabitants have meanwhile been advised not to go to the beach, although no strict ban has been put in place.
Likely culprit? The military
Local activists have their own explanation of these events.
The water pollution may have been caused by a rocket fuel spill, thinks Dmitri Lisitsyn, chairman of the local social organisation, Sakhalin Environment Watch.
“Judging from the fact there is no other possible source of such extreme pollution in the bay, other than the nearby military training area, it’s likely that rocket fuel from the soldiers was spilled. Heptyl is a rocket fuel that is exceptionally poisonous for all living things.
“And if we consider how long witnesses have been seeing this pollution, I would say that it’s not a single spill. It’s still going on!
“So, we have to assume there may something like underwater burial of chemical weapons or toxic runoff going on. A container full of that stuff might have been damaged”.
“Don’t drink the water? Don’t eat the seafood!”
The locals are at a loss, in a state nearing panic.
“We have drunk tap water all our lives. We eat seafood. We live by the water. I’m worried for my life, for my children’s lives. Something’s been going on for a month, and we don’t understand what it is, and nothing has changed. They could have at least told us what to do! Maybe we’re not supposed to drink the tap water? Or, maybe we shouldn’t eat the blue crabs that are half-boiled from the water?“, said Kristina Rozenberg.
The shores of Kamchatka are an important source of valuable seafood products, as well as a migration point for sea life. Now they are all threatened with death.
Local inhabitants’ biggest fear is that, if the military should be found at fault for the spill, the investigation results will be classified, and they will never find out what actually happened, or which precautionary measures to take.