Shoigu: Cleaning the Arctic is a priority for the Russian Geographical Society
Cleaning up garbage in the Arctic is a priority for the Russian Geographical Society (RGS), which has been working on this jointly with the country's ministries and agencies, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is also RGS President, told RIA Novosti.
"The Arctic is our current priority. We have been working on Arctic islands. As you know, we recently cleaned up the main part of Alexandra Island in Franz Josef Land," Shoigu said at a meeting with members of an RGS expedition on Bolshoi Tyuters Island in the Gulf of Finland. The RGS President said they had removed about 60,000 barrels, over 3,000 tons of fuel and lubricants and several aircraft from the island.
Shoigu added that the clean-up was ongoing on the New Siberian Islands, Novaya Zemlya, on Cape Schmidt, plus several other islands. The baling machines for compressing scrap were delivered from Alexandra Island after an environmental expedition finished working there.
"Several large bailing machines have been manufactured by a Defense Ministry contractor. They are used to compress barrels and other scrap for removal from the Arctic zone by return flight. This is difficult and expensive work," Shoigu said.
He also said the Russian Geographical Society organizes many expeditions, some of them jointly with the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Defense Ministry, to deal with environmental problems.
Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and member of the RGS Board of Trustees, spoke highly about the Defense Ministry's contribution to cleaning up the Arctic and several other regions in Russia. Ivanov pointed out that this problem had been neglected before.