Sergei Donskoi: Arctic cleanup to continue in 2016
The Arctic cleanup campaign will continue in 2016, though on a reduced scale, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi said in response to a question from arctic.ru.
"Anyway, the cleanup will continue. A number of less complicated projects will be suspended, but there are no plans to suspend cleanup efforts on the islands or in other Arctic areas. We have the necessary funds for cleanup operations on Kamchatka, in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve and elsewhere. So, the cleanup will continue, although, perhaps, at a reduced scale and at a slower pace," Mr Donskoi added.
Besides the Natural Resources Ministry, the cleanup involves the Defense Ministry, regional authorities and various companies.
"The new budget is fairly tough, funding has been reduced, and these projects [cleanup campaign] on the Franz-Josef Land will have to be suspended. This year cleanup operations were carried out on Alexandra Land and on several islands of the Franz-Josef Land," the minister said.
Earlier, Roman Yershov, director of the Russian Arctic National Park, announced that the 2016 budget does not envisage funds for further cleanup to undo the environmental damage caused to the islands. Over the past five years, however, the biggest pollution concerns regarding the Franz-Josef Land have been removed.