Environmental Degradation of the Barents and Kara Sea

For almost thirty years now, the Cold War has ended and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) has dissolved. However, the effects of the Cold War are still present today. What little fragments are leftover from the once superpower USSR, could in fact drastically change the ecosystem in the Arctic Circle as well as the Barents and Kara Sea. Several Soviet and post-Soviet nuclear powered submarines armed along with nuclear weaponry, have sunken in Russian waters as well as in exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Russia and Norway. At the time, the Russian government did not have the economic power as well as the technologies to recover these sunken submarines to be decommissioned properly as well as dismantled. It is essential for these nuclear submarines to be recovered to ensure the biodiversity of these ecosystems surrounding Norway and Russia. As of right now there are four sunken nuclear reactors and one sunken nuclear armed submarine in the Kara Sea. Two submarines in the Barents Sea, K-278 and K-159, have sunken and now are, according to Russian government officials, are properly being decommissioned to ensure the continuation of the ecosystems in the area. The Russian government said in a report that the sunken nuclear reactors had no long-term negative effects on the sea and the land surrounding the sea. However, the European Union-Russian Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (EURPCC), have conducted an independent research on the effects of these nuclear reactors at the bottom of the Kara Sea. In their report, they have concluded that the current effects of the nuclear reactors on the ecosystem or minimal, however if Russia fails to recover these nuclear reactors this could endanger the biodiversity of the current ecosystems. If Russia continues to prolong the required response that this issue demands, the EURPCC reported that it could and most likely kill many rare fish species located only in the Kara Sea, as well as Sea Corals that have already began to deteriorate due to the rise of both world and Russian pollution. The sea reefs located in the Kara Sea are home to some of the oldest and longest living sea species that the human race has not fished to extinction (at least not yet). The world has already experienced what nuclear infected waters and land could do to all living species in the Chernobyl disaster. It is crucial for the Russian government to properly react to their predecessor governments actions. As for the sunken submarines armed with nuclear weapons, must be properly decommissioned without overlooking any possibility of an unexpected accident that might occur. As of right now K-159 has been recovered and is being dismantled in Murmansk, a small port city located in the High North and possess much proximity to their neighboring country Norway. Russia has denied many allies, including the United Nation Committee for Environmental Protection (UNCEP) for assistance and technological support as well as strategical advice. It is essential for the Russian government to conduct the decommission of K-159 properly before it reaps the same effects that Japan is expecting after the explosion of the North Korean nuclear missile that exploded over Japanese EEZ waters, only a little over fifty miles from Japanese land. It is for this reason that this writer believes that there must be a UN committee that overlooks all nuclear weapons and nuclear powered machinery that are being dismantled. As Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”, and it is for this reason that Russia welcomes with open arms and open doors for the assistance that has been offered to them to successfully handle these critical environmental issues. But perhaps there is a reason why the Russian Federation keeps receiving advice and assistance is due to the fact that at the end of the previous fiscal year, Russia has cut the budget for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). Russia, once being one of the few superpowers on this Earth, continues to fail in addressing several environmental issues that continue to degrade their ecosystems as well as shared international ecosystems. From how the Russian government so far has handle this delegate issue, it seems that the federal semi-presidential republic has turned into a kakistocracy.

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