Toxic streams

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Poison scare: polar bears coul (Credit: Mepham Photo)SIBERIAN rivers have turned into poisonous streams carrying large amounts of toxic chemicals into the Arctic Ocean, harming wildlife in the region. According to the findings of State of the Arctic Environment, a report compiled by scientists from eight Arctic nations and published recently in Norway, these rivers contain hundred times more polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS) and pesticides like dichloro-diphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and lindane than North American and Scandinavian rivers.

The most polluted rivers are the Ob, Yenisei and Pechora, says Derek Muir of the Canadian government's Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. Russia had stopped manufacturing DDT in the 1980s but it still has old stocks which are widely used in Siberia to fight plagues of insects, says Stanislav Belikov of the All Russia Research Institute for Nature Conservation in Moscow. The Ob and Yenisei rivers flush out as much as 50 tonnes Of DDT in a year. High levels of PCBS were found in ringed seals in Kara Sea and they are also suspected in walruses, porpoises, whales, gulls, sea eagles, foxes and polar bears.

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