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  2. In Arkhangelsk, activists reported a dross film in the Vychegda river 6.5 kilometers from the pulp and paper mill

In Arkhangelsk, activists reported a dross film in the Vychegda river 6.5 kilometers from the pulp and paper mill

Ivan Zhuravkov
Dross in the Vychegda river
Photo from the activists
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In the morning of June 2, activists found a dross film near the Vychegda river's bank in the Kotlas District of Arkhangelsk Oblast. They assumed that the Ilim Company’s pulp and paper mill (PPM), located 6.5 km from the site where the dross had been detected, had caused the water contamination. Activist Vyacheslav Grigoryants told 7x7 about this.

According to him, fishermen from the village of Duritsyno, Kotlas district, were the first to find the dross in the river around 1 a. m. Vyacheslav Grigoryants’s friend called him four hours later and reported the situation to him. After that, the activist arrived at the site and took water samples to give for analysis.

Grigoryants reported the incident to fishing inspectors, the Directorate of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor), and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. At 12 p. m., he examined the river bank with a district police officer, who also took water samples. A local fisherman told the activist that dead hatchlings had surfaced from the water. Grigoryants added that two people calling themselves the meteorological observation’s employees had arrived at the site. He also saw a motorboat coming from the direction of the pulp and paper mill.

The activist said that local fishermen regularly complained about dross appearing in Vychegda. In 2020, the man already applied to fishing inspectors on the subject, but, according to him, the agency did not find any violations.

The Department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Arkhangelsk Oblast confirmed to 7x7 that they were informed about the dross in the Vychegda. But the employee advised to contact the Northern Department of the Weather Control and Environmental Monitoring Service in order to clarify the information. The correspondent was told there that specialists who had arrived at the site had taken water samples, but visually assessed the situation as "low-level water body contamination".

7x7 did not manage to get a timely comment from the Northern Interregional Department of Rosprirodnadzor. They confirmed their awareness of the situation, but asked for a written request to provide the information.

The Ilim Group is the largest pulp and paper company in Russia. The company's mills produce 75% of Russian tradeable pulp, 20% of cardboard and 10% of paper (the annual production is more than 3.2 million tons). One of the group's enterprises is a pulp and paper mill in Koryazhma, Arkhangelsk Oblast (the Kotlas PPM formerly). In 2005, the plant was fined for 20 thousand rubles on a claim of Rosprirodnadzor for violations of nature conservation laws, in 2010, Rosprirodnadzor found other irregularities in the enterprise. In February 2020, the Council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region's (BEAC) Ministers of the Environment excluded the plant from the list of environmental "hot spots" in the Euro-Arctic Region.


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