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Environmental unscrupulousness of Norway

01.02.2019 20:20

Stasy Dementieff

 According to Kurt Odlekalf, independent ecologist and head of the The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature, the mercury threat hangs over the Arctic. This is about the German submarine U 864 which sank off the coast of Norway in February 9, 1945. According to experts estimates the submarine contains 65 tons of mercury and at about 2 tons of uranium oxide and the risk of its leakage to the North Sea basin is quite high.

According to Odlekalf the most dangerous scenario is an explosion on the submarine that would make the island uninhabitable. The ecologist also did not rule out the possibility of mercury entering the territorial waters of the Russian Arctic.”If a catastrophe happens the poisonous substance will reach the Barents Sea
in 13-14 days,” said Oddleklaf.

The ecologist reminded that the wreckage of U-864 had been discovered as far back as in 2003 but the issue of the disposal of toxic waste has not shifted. However what kind of reaction can we expect from the country that blatantly violates international environmental norms and rules? Let me remind that Norway is the only state that still refuses to sign the “The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972”.

At the same time such “environmental negligence” calls into question further cooperation with other subarctic states, in particular, with Russia. For example, on the issue concerning the reconstruction of the Lille Mennika dam belonged to the Skogfoss hydroelectric station and located on the Pasvik River.

The dam stands on the Russian territory transferred by Moscow to Oslo for uncompensated and unlimited use in 1957. However, there are a lot of nuances that should be taken into account under the reconstruction. In particular, environmentalists are seriously worried about changes in water levels which can adversely affect the bird breeding and fish spawning. It should be noted that such precedents in the work of the Norwegian Hydroelectric Power Stations have already been fixed. Thus, the leadership of the Pasvik Kraft Company which owns several Hydroelectric Power Stations (including the aforementioned Skogfoss) has repeatedly violated the rules of the technical operation of its facilities for the inefficient use of water resources.

This is partly why Russia is not in a hurry to make a decision about the reconstruction of the dam "Lille Mennika". The main task is to thoroughly calculate all possible technical mistakes in order not to harm the fragile flora and fauna of the region because the issue of minimizing environmental risks is a priority for Russia. But Norway risks losing any interest for the polar states which do not intend to put up with “environmental unscrupulousness of Norway”.