PERMAFROST

  • Amidst Rising Global Temperatures, thawing permafrost is likely to destabilize thousands of industrial sites and linked contaminated areas in the Arctic.
  • The arctic is dotted with industrial facilities such as oilfields and pipelines, mines and military bases.
  • The consequences of global warming and thawing permafrost were not taken into account for long and permafrost was considered as a favorable condition for the disposal of industrial legacies and other wastes.
  • However, a recent study found out that, thawing permafrost poses environmental threat to thousands of sites with legacy industrial contamination.
  • Thawing permafrost in the industrial areas of Arctic could spread toxic substances across the region.
  • These infrastructures are built on permafrost, which was once believed to be perennially stable and reliable.
  • The toxic waste from these industrial facilities too has been buried in the permafrost on the assumption that it would stay locked away permanently.
  • The known industrial waste types in the permafrost region include “drilling and mining wastes, toxic substances like drilling muds and fluids, mine waste heaps, heavy metals, spilled fuels, and radioactive waste”.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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