Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Ambarnaya River Oil spill in Russia


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ambarnaya River

Mains level: NA

Russia has declared a state of emergency after a power plant fuel leak in its Arctic region caused 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil to escape into a local river, turning its surface crimson red.

Locate major rivers in Russia in the given map from east-west and west-east directions.

Details of the spillage

  • The Ambarnaya River, into which the oil has been discharged, is part of a network that flows into the environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean.
  • The state-owned TASS news agency reported that the emergency measures were announced within Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region, located in the vast and sparsely populated Siberian peninsula.

How did the leak happen?

  • The thermoelectric power plant at Norilsk is built on permafrost, which has weakened over the years owing to climate change.
  • The power plant is located near the Region’s Norilsk city, around 3000 km northeast of Moscow.
  • This caused the pillars that supported the plant’s fuel tank to sink.
  • Around 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil was released into the Ambarnaya river, which has since drifted 12 km on its surface.

What has Russia done so far?

  • Boom obstacles were placed in the river, but they were unable to contain the oil because of shallow waters.
  • The state of emergency declared would bring in extra forces and federal resources for the clean-up efforts.

What is the extent of the damage?

  • Environmentalists have said the river would be difficult to clean, given its shallow waters and remote location, as well as the magnitude of the spill.
  • This is the second-largest known oil leak in modern Russia’s history in terms of volume.
  • The clean-up effort could take between 5-10 years.

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