Protecting the Arctic environment was discussed at the Nevsky International Ecological Congress

Protecting the Arctic environment was discussed at the Nevsky International Ecological Congress

Expert Reports  

In addition to cleaning up the Arctic areas and liquidating the accumulated damage to the nature of the region, it is necessary to actively introduce new environmentally sound production technologies, increase the interaction in this area between the state, business community and public organizations, including environmental ones. This was announced during the 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress.

“Currently, there is an active economic development of the Arctic region, comfortable living conditions are being created for people, as well as the preferential conditions for doing business. The Northern Sea Route, the natural resources of the Arctic regions and the beauty of northern nature are the new economic growth engine in Russia. At the same time, it is important to preserve the fragile Arctic ecosystem when extracting and transporting minerals, developing new industries and expanding tourist destinations. To solve this problem, all the efforts of the state, business and society must be consolidated,” said Vice Speaker of the Council of Federation Galina Karelova.

She confirmed that today, the climate policy of our country remains unchanged. “By 2060, Russia plans to become a carbon-neutral economy. For this purpose, in 2021, the Federal Law “On Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions” was adopted and the “Strategy for the Development of Russia with Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions until 2050” was approved. The constituent entities of the Russian Federation are also actively involved in this work.

According to Galina Karelova, special attention should be paid to creating a state system for monitoring permafrost, removing the sunken ships from the country’s waters, and organizing a certain waste management system.

The vice-speaker of the Council of Federation specially emphasized the important Clean Arctic public project aimed at cleaning up the Arctic areas. “In 2022, some expeditions worked in all Arctic regions, thousands of volunteers from Russia and foreign countries took part in the cleaning up projects, and 5,000 tonnes of waste and garbage were collected and prepared for removal and disposal. In total, a large-scale clean-up operation was carried out on an area of 235 hectares.”

“We hope that at least 5,000 volunteers will take part in the Clean Arctic project this year,” said Galina Karelova. “I visited Norilsk before the campaign and after it. The city has changed for the better - it has become clean, beautiful and comfortable. I think the residents of Norilsk appreciate this.”

Stanislav Seleznyov, Vice President for Ecology and Industrial Safety of the Norilsk Nickel company, spoke about the progress of the Clean Arctic project, the company’s work to eliminate environmental damage accumulated over many decades. “We continue the Clean Arctic project and keep on cleaning up the Arctic area. We promise that Norilsk and the areas around the city will definitely be clean.” The top manager also dwelled on creating the atmospheric air monitoring system in the cities where the company operates and confirmed the launch of the flagship environmental project Sulfur Programme. “It is expected to be launched in October this year at the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant and will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in the Norilsk industrial region by almost 50%.”

The round table attendees noted the need to use the latest technologies and take into account the highest environmental protection requirements when launching new industrial facilities. This should be implemented in the project to develop the Kolmozerskoye lithium deposit, it’s implementation will be started this year jointly by the Norilsk Nickel company and the Rosatom Corporation.

Aleksey Likhachyov, Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, spoke about the implementation of ambitious tasks for the construction of nuclear icebreakers that ensure Russia’s economic and political interests in the Arctic region. He also informed about the great work done to clean up the Arctic areas and return them to public use.

Speaking at the forum, Elena Sharoikina, Chairman of the Commission on Ecology and Environment of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, noted the contribution of large companies that can become an example for other businesses. “Norilsk Nickel, Rosatom, PhosAgro, Russian Railways not only allocated their funds, but also inspired their employees to take part in cleaning up the Arctic areas. This project really united all people,” said Elena Sharoikina.

“One of the environmental problems that we are solving is the clean-up of past environmental damage. Cleaning up 11 sites in the Arctic area where hazardous waste has been accumulated and stored for decades will improve the living conditions for over 700,000 people whose houses are located nearby,” said Alexander Kozlov, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation.