Talk about environmental concerns, and Russia’s role calls for discussion. Seems like they’ve got it all wrong. A recent study shows that the oil-rich nation spills 5 million tons of oil every year, which accounts for a full 1% of the nation’s output. Now that’s the equivalent of having a Deepwater Horizon-scale oil disaster every two months.
The spillage arises due to the oil seeping through rusty pipelines and old well,contaminating soil, killing all plants that grow on it and destroying habitats for mammals and birds. Half a million tons every year get into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters.
Comparatively, oil spills in Russia are less characteristic than disasters in the Gulf of Mexico or theNorth Sea, where it is more the result of crude oil leaking from containers rather than a sudden explosion. But they’re more numerous than in any other oil-producing nation including insurgency-hit Nigeria, and combined they spill far more than anywhere else in the world.
And oil wells and pipelines around the world continue to age, rust and breakdown; the spillage isn’t just confined to Russia, it’s a global concern now. Actually, there must be tens of thousands of oily faucets leaking into various environments around the globe, with little motivation or interest by anyone to properly reseal them.
And if we continue to ignore climate change and the limits of resource consumption, these wastelands may soon end up to be greater causes of environmental concern than they are presently. Is Russia listening?