Photo: The Daldykan River in Siberia has turned red, apparently from pollution. Credit: Association of Indigenous Peoples of Taimyr, via Facebook The Siberian industrial city of Norilsk, which has grown on the site of a Stalinist forced-labor prison camp, has a reputation for being one of the most polluted cities on the planet. A 2007 report by the Pure Earth Institute described it as home to a huge metal smelting sector that pumped vast quantities of sulfur dioxide and other contaminants into the atmosphere, resulting in a life expectancy for local factory workers that was 10 years below the national average. BBC News once reported that the region was the world's biggest producer of acid rain.
Norilsk is so polluted, in fact, that the nearby Daldykan River apparently has turned a startling shade of crimson.
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Sergey Donskoy, head of the Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources, said in a statement issued on Sept. 7 that the agency had received reports, including images, of the river, which he said had been polluted by an unidentified chemical.
Donskoy said that preliminary reports suggested that the cause might be a break in a slurry pipeline at the nearby Nadezhinskogo metallurgical plant. He said that the company had denied that there had been a leak, "but is monitoring the state of the environment in the vicinity of the river."
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