People driving the Kola highway have seen it before. Like in late July when kilometers and kilometers of the nature west of the nickel and copper smelters were covered by smog containing sulfur dioxide and heavy metals.
A week later, the leaves on the few still-alive trees in the lunar landscape started to brown. On Sunday, October 4th, the sulfur gasses were again blowing over the Arctic landscape, a video posted by Navalny’s office in Murmansk shows.
After Nornickel closed its nickel refining factory in Norilsk a few years ago, all refining now takes place in Monchegorsk, a two hours’ drive south of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.
Within a few months another of the company’s factories, in Nikel near the border to Norway, will be closed and production moved to Monchegorsk.
How big the concentrations of pollutants are in the air is not clear. Roshydromet’s monitoring stations are not located in the direction the wind was blowing this Sunday. The measurement posts are between the factory and the populated part of Monchegorsk town.