Siberia’s black snow unmasks the dirt of coal mining

Feb 25, 2019, 7:48 AM EST
(Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com)
(Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com)

Black snow cloaked the entire landscape across Siberia’s Kuzbass region this winter making visible an invisible but pervasive threat – the coal dust – that fills the air in the region’s mining towns, home to more than 120 mining facilities and 52 enrichment plants.

The region supplies nearly 59 percent of all Russian coal but at a dear cost to its of 2.6 million residents, who have average life expectancy three to four years shorter than the country’s national average and higher incidences of tuberculosis, childhood cerebral palsy and 15 types of cancer, writes Smithsonian.com.

While this particular spell of blackening is being attributed to the failure of a “shield” at the Prokopyevskaya coal plant, the Siberian authorities are guilty of negligence in enforcing the environmental regulations, as a result of which open-pit mines, coal stockpiles, and power plants continue to operate in close proximity of populations, notes Business Times.

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