"Norilsk Nickel" poison residents of Monchegorsk

The city of Monchegorsk Murmansk region is enveloped in a poisonous fog, residents are advised not to go out.
Do not go out and not open windows recommended in the mayor's office to the residents of Monchegorsk. However, on the street without the need and so no one is torn: in the mouth immediately there is a characteristic bitter aftertaste, the eyes water, cough begins. In addition, a few meters away you can not see anything: the city is drowned in a yellowish-gray fog. From time to time a flashing beacon emerges from the fog: the car of the Ministry of Emergency Situations runs around the city, reminding with a loudspeaker that it is safer now to stay at home. The disaster continues from March 5, but officially the source of hydrogen sulphide emissions is not named. While in Monchegorsk there is a combine "Severonikel" of Kola MMC (daughter of Norilsk Nickel), on which the sulfate-containing filetein is processed.

The local authorities officially recognized the excess of the maximum permissible concentration (maximum permissible concentration) of sulfur dioxide 2 days after the beginning of the disaster.

The exact figure is not named, although, judging by the releases of officials, measurements are taken regularly. The message of the mayor's office diplomatically states that the MPC is exceeded "more than 2 times", and that in order to combat the dangerous phenomenon it is decided ... to reduce the temperature of the coolant of the local CHP, which allegedly produces "up to 30% of sulfur dioxide emissions". Local residents began to irony about this: they say that the city is officially recognized as a branch of hell, because if sulfur dioxide is extracted from the boiler's pipe, sulfur is burned in the boilers.

In parallel, KGMK announced the suspension of production in Monchegorsk "until weather conditions improve." In other words, until the end of calm: in the city a few days frosty and calm.

The yellow mist envelops Monchegorsk not for the first time. The phenomenon was always associated with the plant's emissions in windless weather. Why, when receiving weather reports, the company does not stop the smelting, why people are not warned about emissions in advance, why school does not cancel classes, and physical education classes are held on the street - people ask questions mostly in social networks. Discussions about whether to write to the prosecutor's office and supervisory bodies usually end with a reminder: the combine is a city-forming enterprise, on which everyone depends. Now the Internet-trolls of the local flood have filled the commentary with the advice of dissatisfied people to leave the city far away.

The emissions, however, had quite tangible consequences: due to zero visibility, the section of the federal highway near the city had to be encircled, and a reverse movement with a speed of 15 km / h was organized on it. Motorists moved in conditions of zero visibility, which led to accidents: on March 5, for example, on the track there were passing two trucks and a car at the same time. Drivers in the fog simply did not see each other.

Monchegortsy all week complained of nausea, vomiting, attacks of suffocation - symptoms of sulfuric anhydride. Asthmatics suffered most.

- Next time I will bring my 9-year-old son to the administration to show how the child suffocates! We barely sleep for a week. All the time attacks. God forbid you to sit at night and listen to your baby breathing! - Svetlana, a resident of Monchegorsk, writes in the comments to the Mayor's release. - Son is an asthmatic. They took off terrible attacks. We decided to take them to the hospital for a dropper. Why did not you notify people? The children went to additional lessons. We walked in the courtyards. How much can you already? There is a bunch of asthmatics in the city. So many deaths due to cancer. So it may not be responsible for unsubscribing, ostensibly everything is in order, but at least in time to warn people about emissions?

The governor Marina Kovtun responded in "Twitter", saying: "I know. Rosprirodnadzor and Rospotrebnadzor are already engaged. " What exactly are involved, it is not yet clear: on the site of the regional department for monitoring of the environment, for example, about exceeding the MPC in Monchegorsk, not a word. True, there is already an eightfold excess in Nickel - this is the second city of the Murmansk region, where the industrial sites of Norilsk Nickel are located. On the site of Rospotrebnadzor on March 8 it was reported that there are no excess of MPC of hydrogen sulfide in the city. On the eve of the same department advised Monchegortsev to wash the floors with soda, minimize the motor activity, smoking, being on the street, close the windows and doors tightly and provide yourself with an abundant drink. The supervisory authority does not indicate the exact excess of the sulfur dioxide standards in the air.

- This is far from the first time when in the conditions of NMU ("unfavorable weather conditions - TB") in cities and towns of the company presence there is an excess of MPC for sulfur dioxide. Usually they occur in the Polar or Nickel (it is in this village is active smelting), Monchegorsk is almost never on this list. In the conditions of NMU the company is obliged to reduce production volumes up to a complete stop. In my memory this is the first time that a car with a loudspeaker traveled around the city and asked residents not to leave home for a couple of days, - says Anna Kireeva, an employee of the Bellona environmental organization.

Monchegortsy recall that the gloom hung over the city all the time in the Soviet years, when the ecological requirements were never heard. Then the tundra around the city turned into a lunar landscape. Then the production became more civilized, and suddenly again. Alternatively, a possible increase in emissions may be due to the promised transfer of production from Norilsk, where the company closes its plant, to Monchegorsk. The production capacity on the Kola Peninsula is gradually increasing, and the burden on the environment is growing.

Another possible cause of gas contamination is the deterioration of a kilometer flue through which gases from the smelter shop are delivered to the sulfuric acid production of the refining shop. The flue was launched in 1979, last summer Vedomosti reported with reference to the company that its technical resource was exhausted.