Russian and Norwegian environmentalists and politicians gathering in the industrial town of Nikel to tote up advances in cross-border pollution for once had something positive to report: the joint efforts seems to be working.
The results of Russia’s Year of Ecology are so far mixed, but 2017 marks a quarter century since Russia and Norway started forging an often-brittle bond of environmental cooperation.
The event in Nikel – a company town to the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company with a history of grievous pollution – was entitled “Days of Russian Norwegian near border cooperation,” and presented a best-foot-forward program that checked off several bilateral success stories.
Among them were air quality monitoring efforts jointly undertaken by authorities in Murmansk and Norway’s northerly Finnmark County; dual stewardship of protected lands, and water protection measures for area rivers. The two regions have also formed a host of working groups on pollution reduction, biodiversity, cultural heritage and radioactive contamination.
But the most celebrated achievement between the two countries this year is the advance made in removing the spent nuclear submarine fuel that piled up for five decades at Russia’s Andreyeva Bay, a mere stone’s throw from the Norwegian border.