Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a state of emergency in the Siberian city of Norilsk, after 20 000 tons of fuel spilled into a nearby river from a power station.
An environmental group has described the damage as catastrophic, and the concentration of contaminants in nearby waters has already exceeded permissible levels tens of thousands of times over, according to Russian environmental agency Rosprirodnadzor.
The power station’s employees originally tried to contain the spill on their own and did not report the incident to emergency services for two days, head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Evgeny Zinichev said.
“So what, we are going to learn about emergencies from social media now? Are you okay over there?”, - Putin said, chiding Krasnoyarsk governor, Alexander Uss and managers of the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, which operates the station, for a delayed response after local authorities learned about the spill from social media.
The Investigative Committee said that a criminal probe had been launched into 20 000 tons of diesel fuel spilling into a Norilsk river following “unexplained decompression” of a storage tank.