A Russian river near the Arctic Circle seems to have turned blood red, with locals claiming the waste from a nickel plant is to blame.
Pictures posted on VKontakte, the Russian equivalent to Facebook, and Instagram appear to show the river Daldykan near the city of Norilsk flowing a bright red color.
An indigenous group linked the river’s shade to a nickel-processing factory, Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant, belonging to Norilsk Nikel, the area’s most important metals company.
However, the metals company denied that a leak of industrial waste took place in Norilsk. It added that helicopters are monitoring the area around the river to look for possible environmental hazards.
“As far as we know, the color of the river today is not different from its normal state,” it said.
Home to the world’s largest heavy metals smelting complex, Norilsk is known to be one of Russia’s – and the world’s – most polluted places. More than 4 million tons of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc are released into the air every year.
Norilsk Nickel is one of Russia’s leading producers of non-ferrous and platinum-group metals.