Over 100 personnel plus equipment and vehicles have been deployed to clear Cold War-era military and industrial waste from the Franz Josef archipelago.
About 115 people are working on clearing scrap metal and spilt fuel on the islands. Equipment and camps for the workers have been set up on Alexandra, Hooker, Hayes and Rudolf islands, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a statement.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi said after a trip to the far northern group of islands that workers planned to clear at least 8 tons of garbage this year as part of plans to clean up the islands in preparation for an expected influx of eco-tourists.
Alexandra Land, the western-most island in the archipelago, will be cleared of military and industrial waste by 2014, officials said.
The 191 islands of Franz Josef Land, which constitute Russia's northern most territory, were incorporated into a new Russian Arctic national park along with the northern part of Novaya Zemlya in 2009.
Both areas were heavily militarized during the Cold War, and are still polluted by the detritus of day-to-day military life, including discarded oil barrels and other junk. Then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a clean up of the park in 2010.
In June, park director Roman Ershov announced plans to build the first visitor center and accommodation for staff on the islands. The national park is currently administered from Arkhangelsk.