A Russian region dependent on coal power is so polluted that its snow turned black

A still from a video that shows black snow on the ground in Russia.

caption
A still from a video that shows black snow on the ground in Russia.
source
Twitter/SaharAzeri

A still from a video that shows black snow on the ground in Russia.

caption
A still from a video that shows black snow on the ground in Russia.
source
Twitter/SaharAzeri

  • Towns in Kemerovo, Siberia, have been covered in black snow due to heavy pollution in the coalmining region.
  • Photos and videos on social media show the region covered in a black film.
  • The head of one coal plant said emissions from the plant escaped and “we can’t tackle coal dust in the streets.”
  • An environmental activist told The Guardian newspaper that “It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter.”

Snow in a region in Siberia has turned black from pollution in the area, blanketing streets and fields with eerie black dust.

Videos and photos posted on social media show parts of the Kemerovo region covered in black snow. Kemerovo, in the southwest of Siberia, is among the world’s largest coalmining areas.

The black dust that has transformed the snow comes from numerous open pit mines, UK newspaper The Guardian reported.

Black snow has been reported in the towns of Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk-Kuznetsky, according to The Associated Press.

Anatoly Volkov, the director of the Prokopyevskaya coal plant, said some emissions from the plant manage to escape and that “we can’t tackle coal dust in the streets,” according to the AP.

He told a local TV channel that a shield that stops coal powder from escaping into the air had stopped working, The Siberian Times reported.

Andrei Panov, the deputy governor of the Kemerovo region, plans to meet with local environmentalists to discuss the problem, according to The Siberian Times.

Read more: Russian authorities covered snow in white paint to hide evidence of pollution

Panov said that coal-burning factories, car exhausts, and coal boilers could also have caused the black snow.

Vladimir Slivyak, a member of Russian environmental group Ecodefense, told The Guardian: “It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter.”

“There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it is still there.”

Environmental activists say that the black dust contains dangerous heavy metals like arsenic and mercury, according to The Guardian.

In 2018, authorities in Mysky, Kemerovo, reportedly covered snow with white paint to hide evidence of pollution in the coal-mining town.

Footage shared by Russian media showed a woman’s hands covered in what appears to be paint after she brushes against a snow bank.