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


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
NameAcid “Green Snow” due to chemical contamination in Pervoluralsk, Russia
CountryRussian Federation
ProvinceSverdlovsk Oblast, Ural Federal District
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 CommoditiesIndustrial waste
Manufactured Products
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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
Potential Affected Population125,000
Start Date15/02/2019
Company Names or State EnterprisesMidUral 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 actorsThe government of Russia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNeighbours.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
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
OtherThe 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
OtherLocal 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-economic ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherThe 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.
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder 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 as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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

[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]

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

Source: TheMoscowTimes (February 25, 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]

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

Media Links

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)
[click to view]

Green snow in Pervouralsk Source: (February 24, 2019)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlexandra D'Angelo, [email protected]
Last update09/04/2019