The Russian village covered in BLACK snow: Eerie pictures show streets and houses coated in thick layer of soot from coal power plant in pollution-hit region
- A coal-burning hot water plant provides essential heating but sends a conintual plume of black soot into the sky
- Residents complain of children breathing in soot and playing in dirty black snow
- Despite constant complaints to authorities, nothing has been done
- A local offical said there are plans upgrade the filters in the heating plants
Residents of a remote village in Russia have complained of a polluted winter that brings snow ‘black as night’.
Locals in Omsukchan, Magadan region in the Siberian far east of Russia, say that their children play in streets and playgrounds blanketed in ash and and black snow.
The village is home to a coal-burning hot water plant that provides essential heating to the four thousand residents, but is also responsible for the soot and visceral pollution.
Images show the sinister black snow and ice coating the village in one of the world’s coldest inhabited territories, where Stalin sent political prisoners to work in forced labour Gulag prison camps.
Residents of in Omsukchan, Magadan region, in the far Siberian east of Russia, complain of snow ‘black as night’ that gets darker as the temperature gets colder. The village, which is home to over 4,000 residents, is located in Russia’s far east, just south of the Arctic Circle
A coal-burning hot water plant is essential to the survival of the village and its residents, but it is responsible for producing the pollution that turns the snow black. In heating Omsukchan and neighbouring Seimchan, it burns through so much coal that the soot produced from the chimney turns the snow in the surrounding areas black
The town sees temperatures of -50C in the depths of winter, in one of the most inhospitable and remote inhabited locations in the world. Residents have been complaining about the pollution since the fall of the Soviet Union
A video posted by a resident said: ‘This is a playground in Omsukchan village.
‘It’s January, our children are out there playing in black snow. This is how we live here in the 21st century.’
Another said: ‘This is Omsukchan village and the snow is black – completely black.’
Residents say that despite complaining since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago, nothing has changed.
‘Our children still breathe soot,’ said one. ‘Nothing ever seems to change here.’
Officials accept that the cause of the nightmare in Omsukchan and neighbouring Seimchan is the coal-burning hot water plant.
This is vital as a heating source for flats and houses in the area, famed for gold-mining as well as coal extraction.
With temperatures this month dipping to minus 50C and below, the heating plants in Magadan region burn extra coal, causing the back snow in Omsukchan and other settlements.
The summer temperatures for Omsukchan reach an average of a mild 13C, meaning the hot water plants burn less coal and the town suffers less pollution. A local official has said that plans are underway to upgrade the filters in the heating plants to stop pollution
Summers are green and mild but the air remains pollued. Above, a series of residential blocks in Omsukchan during the summer months
Oksana Gerasimova, the head of the Srednekansky district, told Magadan Pravda newspaper, that it was vital to power-up the heating plants to keep homes warm in temperatures of minus 50C.
‘Ash collectors are installed at the heating plants, which may not be able to cope with cleaning at such a time,’ she said.
She admitted that the area had suffered ‘smoke, and ashes, and snow black as night’.
But she added: ‘this is not a reason to worry.’
Plans are underway to upgrade the filters in the heating plants to stop pollution.