Scientists, volunteers cleanup, reclaim Bely Island in Russian Arctic
© RIA Novosti. Evgeniy Odinokov

Scientists, volunteers cleanup, reclaim Bely Island in Russian Arctic

Russian scientists and volunteers have collected over 500 metric tons of scrap metal on Bely Island, and cleanup operations are now complete, TASS news agency reports, quoting the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area press service.

"The 2016 season is the last for volunteers on Bely Island. The waste has been collected and is now being removed from the island. Over 500 metric tons of scrap metal are awaiting transport. The whole area has been cleaned up and reclaimed," the press service said in a statement.

"The volunteers have accomplished their mission on Bely Island in the Russian Arctic. Equipment and special-purpose vessels will now come and remove the collected waste. These young volunteers have paved the way for the scientists and created favorable conditions for completely restoring the local ecosystem," said Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area Governor Dmitry Kobylkin.

This summer, volunteers from Moscow, Kazan, Vorkuta, Tyumen, Irkutsk, cities in the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets autonomous areas, the Volgograd and Sverdlovsk regions and St. Petersburg worked on Bely Island. The project also included volunteers from China, Chile, Germany and Israel. The first expedition reached Bely Island in 2012, and over 52 hectares of land have been cleaned in the last four years. Over 1,000 metric tons of scrap metal have also been collected. The volunteers did not use any heavy-duty equipment, so as not to harm the fragile Arctic environment.