Last update:
2019-04-09

Acid “Green Snow” due to chemical contamination in Pervoluralsk, Russia

The phenomenon of green snow in Pervouralsk sparked a series of protests and demonstrations all around Siberia. An incident occurred in Feb 2019 in the "Russian Chrome Chemicals 1915" industry caused water contamination, provoking severe health problems


Description:

The Russian Chrome Chemical 1915 industry is located in the industrial city of Pervouralsk and it's specialized in the production of chrome-containing industrial material and reagents. The industry is part of the MidUral Group, a chemical and metallurgical group of companies operating in six countries on four continents [8]. These products are widely used in metallurgy, machine building, leather treatments, textile industry, and in the production of detergents.  

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Acid “Green Snow” due to chemical contamination in Pervoluralsk, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Sverdlovsk Oblast, Ural Federal District
Location of conflict:Pervoluralsk
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Chemical industries
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Chemical products
Industrial waste
Manufactured Products
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The principal technical products of the Company are: sodium bichromate, potassium dichromate, chromium anhydride, chrome oxide, dry chromium tanning agent, sodium sulphate produced from chrome containing industrial wastes. Currently, the main investment of the Company concerns the modernization of chromium anhydride production, with a capacity of 4.000 tons per year [8].

Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:125,000
Start of the conflict:15/02/2019
Company names or state enterprises:MidUral Group from Russian Federation
Russian Chrome Chemicals 1915 from Russian Federation - The incidents occured in this industry provoked water and air chemical contaminations.
Relevant government actors:The government of Russia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Neighbours.
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Oil spills
Other Environmental impactsThe entire area of Pervouralsk is built on industries so that air and noise pollution are visible. The incidents occurred in the industry also caused water pollution and soil contamination, generating a disturbance of hydro and geological systems.
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsLocal children fell ill after the green snow fell near the city's nursery. They suffered from coughs and their skin turned red with rashes on the face.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsThe phenomenon occurred in Pervouralsk alarmed the local community, worried about environmental and health issues related to their living in the city. It is not to be excluded that people would want to move from this area, because of the loss of their sense of place.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Even though the factory has been closed for some time, people in the area are still getting ill.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Protests and demonstrations are sparking all over the country, connecting different local situations regarding several environmental issues (water and air contamination caused by industries, waste management, etc.). The presence of dozens of demonstrations all across Siberia has seen president Vladimir Putin's support waning. A spokesman of the MidUral Group said the situation is "normal", without risks for the local communities; so, there are no signs of reducing the industrial activities. Some activists affirm that "the problem is not only the green snow but its normalization" [5].
Sources and Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] "Why is there green snow on the ground in Russia?"

Source: Care2 (March 1, 2019)
[click to view]

[1] "Pervouralsk's green snow makes visible its toxic legacy"

Source: Sustainibility-times (March 1, 2019)
[click to view]

[2] "Green snow falls on Russian city, sparking protests over pollution"

Source: The Indipendent (February 25, 2019)
[click to view]

[3] "Sightings of green snow concerns residents of Russian city"

Source: Euronews (February 25, 2019)
[click to view]

[6] "Green snow falling on polluted Russian towns sparks widespread environmental protests"

Source: DailyMail (February 24, 2019)
[click to view]

[4] "Chrome factory turns snow green in the Russian town of Pervourlask"

Source: The Times (February 26, 2019)
[click to view]

[7] "Green and black toxic snow sparks waste management protests in Russia"

Source: Ladbible (February 24, 2019)
[click to view]

[8] Official Website of the MidUral Group and its "Russian Chrome Chemicals 1915" industry.
[click to view]

[9] Toxic green snow in polluted Russian towns sparks widespread environmental protests"

Source: DailyMail (February 24, 2019)
[click to view]

[11] "Residents of Smog-Hit Russian town Sue over health complications"

Source: The Moscow Times (February 20, 2019)
[click to view]

[12] "Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region"

Source: TheGuardian (February 15, 2019)
[click to view]

[13] "Green snow raises pollution concerns in Russian city"

Source: EcoWatch (February 26, 2019)
[click to view]

What Russia's green snow reveals about the rise of pollution
[click to view]

[10] "Black Snow buries Russian Coal Region, sparks criminal case"

Source: TheMoscowTimes (February 25, 2019)
[click to view]

Green snow falling in Russia shakes Vladimir Putin's popularity
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Reportage of the green snow phenomenon made by Real Footage.

Source: YouTube (Real Footage, February 25, 2019)
[click to view]

Other documents

Green snow in Pervouralsk Source: Euronews (February 25, 2019)

https://www.euronews.com/2019/02/25/sightings-of-green-snow-concerns-residents-of-russian-city
[click to view]

Green snow in Pervouralsk Source: Dailymail.co.uk (February 24, 2019)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6739349/GREEN-snow-falling-polluted-Russian-towns-sparks-widespread-environmental-protests.html
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alexandra D'Angelo, [email protected]
Last update09/04/2019
Comments
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