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Black Smog Raises Siberian City’s Alarms

Krasnoyarsk, a city 4,100 kilometers east of Moscow, regularly appears near the top of Russia’s annual air pollution rankings. Marco Fieber / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Smog-plagued Krasnoyarsk declared its second weather emergency in two months Friday as the Siberian city continues to reel from air pollution.

Some 4,100 kilometers east of Moscow, Krasnoyarsk regularly appears near the top of Russia’s annual air pollution rankings. The city’s authorities have regularly declared smog emergencies — measures that include advising residents to leave — in the past decade, with states of emergency sometimes in place for up to two months in a given year.

Smog hangs over low-lying Krasnoyarsk because there’s no wind to blow away smog particles from the local coal-fired plant and other pollutants, Russia’s Hydrometeorology Center says.

On Monday, it was reported that Krasnoyarsk briefly topped the independent air quality monitor AirVisual’s list of the world’s most polluted cities.

Environmental activists have announced a citywide rally against industrial pollution to take place on March 29. 

Popular blogger Alexander Gorbunov, whose frank and foul-mouthed posts have earned him millions of social media followers, wrote: “My DMs are full of photos and videos from Krasnoyarsk.”

“People are writing that they’re choking from chemical smog and no one cares,” Gorbunov, who goes by the pen name StalinGulag, wrote Thursday.

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