People in bratsk petition kremlin over pollution from forest fires

People in bratsk petition kremlin over pollution from forest fires

23 September 2016

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Russia —   Residents complain of ‘severe carbon monoxide poisoning’ as satellite images show blanket of smoke across eastern Siberia.

Pictures show the pall of smoke in Bratsk, a city of a quarter of a million people and one of the worst-hit places from a September upsurge in first fires. Irkutsk region forestry minister Sergey Sheverda said: ‘Fires in Ust-Kut and Katanga are producing smoke in the city. Of course, people do not feel comfortable.’

Firefighters say half a dozen wildfires in Bratsk district are adding to the problem. More than 600 people are deployed on putting out the fires along with 123 units of equipment and four helicopters.

But so far more than 3,000 residents have signed a petition to President Vladimir Putin and Emergencies’ Minister Vladimir Puchkov on website under the headline ‘City of Bratsk is choking from smoke!’

‘For one month we are suffocating from the smoke,’ the petition reads. ‘The weather is hot, and there is a strong smell of burning and smoke. It is not possible to open windows, we cannot go out because we soon feel dizziness…

‘Some adults and children are in hospital with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. We are for clean air! We want to breathe. We have that right. Do not remain indifferent to our health and our future!’ Local deputies have called for firefighting planes to be deployed to put out the fires. Oleg Popov, the deputy of the Bratsk city council told: ‘There is a lot of smoke in the city any we do not see any military aircraft.’

Our earlier story ‘Oil pipes threatened by forest fires amid disputes over the scale of destruction’ shows from satellite images the scale of the wildfires across Siberia.

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