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Black snow in Siberia prompts local governor to shut down plant

PW Bureau

Southwest Siberia that is known for high levels of industrial pollution, has fired up social media with pictures of cars and buildings under layers of black or greyish snow, something that looks like the end of the world

Moscow: A pall of black snow blanketing the industrial Kemerovo region as a consequence of air loaded with coal dust has prompted the regional governor to temporarily shutting down a coal processing plant he accused of killing residents. This regular occurrence in the area in southwest Siberia, known for high levels of industrial pollution, has fired up social media with pictures of cars and buildings under layers of black or greyish snow.

The black snow likely to remain on the ground till the end of April in the region spread more than 3,000 kilometres (1,800 miles) east of Moscow.

[caption id="attachment_4428" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Alt="black snow fall in Siberia covered in PSU watch" Black snowfall in Siberia[/caption]

Cherkasovskaya coal processing plant to blame?

Prosecutors in the area focused blame on Kiselyovsk’s Cherkasovskaya coal processing plant where they said they found "long-term, systematic" violations of air pollution limits that lead to lung disease. Coal dust is not filtered by the plant in any way prior to its release into the atmosphere, prosecutors said.

"You are killing yourself and you are killing all your people who work for you and you are also killing everything around you," Sergei Tsivilyov , the governor said in televised comments.

"I'll hand all the documents on your plant to law enforcement authorities and I will oversee your plant personally," he added.

"It depresses you when everything around you is black. And you understand it's extremely harmful to your health,"

The region is part of one of the world’s largest coal field, Kuzbass, in Russia, which also has many highly-polluting metallurgical plants.

"It depresses you when everything around you is black. And you understand it's extremely harmful to your health," said Natalya Zubkova, 42, editor of an online newspaper in Kiselyovsk, one of the affected cities.

[caption id="attachment_4429" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Alt="black snow" Images look depressing[/caption]

"Our children aren't going outside to play at all," she said. Laboratory tests found the level of air pollution was more than double safe limits, police said as they launched a probe into environmental pollution focusing on Kiselyovsk.

The landscape resembles Mordor from LOTR

Some went on to say the picture bore a resemblance to Mordor, a dark realm in the fantasy world of JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.