Excessive amounts of phenol and oil products were detected in sea waters near the Khalaktyrsky Beach, a touristic hotspot in Kamchatka, where hordes of sea creatures have been washing ashore since a few days.
Surfers raised alarm about three weeks ago after once pristine waters caused major problems with eyesight, fevers, throat aches and and gave them a feeling of losing eyesight after getting out of the water.
Now, the black volcanic sand of Khalaktyrsky beach – one of the gems of the Kamchatka peninsula near its largest city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – got littered with hundreds of dead sea animals, from deep-sea Giant Pacific octopuses, to seals, sea urchins, stars, crabs and fish.
The Pacific Ocean waves, once favoured by local surfers and loved by tourists, now have a strong toxic smell; water colour has a clear yellow tinge.
The Russian Investigative Committee’s chief, Alexander Bastrykin, will be briefed about the ongoing probe into the mass death of sea animals in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Kamchatka.
“The chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee told the head of the Kamchatka Region investigative department to inform him about the ongoing procedural inquiry into the mass death of sea animals in the Pacific Ocean,” she said.
На Камчатке произошла утечка нефтепродуктов, из-за чего погибли тысячи морских жителей: моллюски, крабы, ежи, мидии-ценнейший морской биоресурс.— Dmitry78 (@Dmitry788) October 2, 2020
Предстоит оценить масштабы экокатастрофы 😱
Также, получили ожоги роговицы глаз люди, которые отдыхали на пляже неподалеку pic.twitter.com/laxJRVpBSh
Earlier, Russian hydrometeorology service specialists detected excessive amounts of phenol and oil products in sea waters near the Khalaktyrsky Beach, where, according to local residents, hordes of sea creatures had been washed ashore.
Later, increased levels of petroleum products were registered at three more locations in the Avacha Gulf.
Mass death of sea animals was also reported in Malaya Lagernaya Bay, Bolshaya Lagernaya Bay and Babya Bay.
Two versions are discussed so far:
- Recent military training at Kamchatka causing the ecological catastrophe.
- Leakage of oil products and phenol from ships passing through the Avacha Gulf.
Earlier today several local residents published satellite pictures shared by Greenpeace Russia, showing a yellow-coloured river flowing into the Pacific Ocean. There is a military training ground upstream, they said.
‘We are getting new information every hour; just recently we received satellite pictures from @greenpeaceru of the river that flows into the ocean and that evidently killed everything.
‘Up the stream there is a military training ground. Knowing how the system works and how these kinds of questions are getting hushed, we must do everything in our power to save the ocean right and to defend from a catastrophe in the future,’ wrote one of the surfers under the nickname Yola_La.
‘Our beautiful underwater world is now colour grey and yellow. Fish looks like it’s been boiled. Even the strongest shells that could tear a diving suit fell off the rocks. The scariest of all is that we don’t know what to do, how to help. I am looking at the stunning sunset over the Avacha Bay, knowing that its bottom is covered with dead sea animals,’ another local called Kristy_Rozenberg wrote.
Now it emerges that even staying close to the water makes a poisonous effect. Some even wear gas masks.
Locals continue to dive to update on the state of sea animals, bringing devastating news that the once thriving underwater life is gone, with even the strongest shells that could tear wetsuits lying open, dead.
Seals behave as if in a trance, refusing to dive and spending as long as possible on the surface.
Russian Minister of Environmental Protection Dmitry Kobylkin said the environmental situation in the area is being analyzed. Experts took samples of water, sand and air from the affected zones.