As part of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been fighting to become a world power in recent years. Located in central Asian between the Caspian Sea and the Altai Mountains, Kazakhstan borders both Russian and China. The country has made headlines twice this week. First, because the President of Kazakhstan is heading to the White House to parlay with President Trump. And second, because a town in the country has been covered with BLACK snow.
After snow littered the town of Temirtau, scientists have been deployed to figure out what it means. They’re arriving in droves, not because snowfall in the region is abnormal, to the contrary, it is quite common at this time of the year, but because after the white snow fell it turned black shortly after.
In early 2018, the town was covered in the mysterious black substance.
Locals think the problem is apparent. They have very little environmental regulations in the country and the area. And factories are nearby. Locals believe that the black snow was merely dust and air pollution that got caught in the snow and turned it black.
And if that is the case, that is disturbing. If the EPA fails to protect the environment of the United States, then America could be covered in black snow in upcoming years.
While locals think they have the answer to the problem, the government of Kazakhstan is not so quick to jump to conclusions. They’ve sent a team of qualified scientists out to the town to gather samples and officially get to the matter of the scary problem.
Based on how the pictures of the snow look, it does resemble sooty snow. And locals are worried that they are breathing this harmful substance into their lungs. Or if the snow melts and gets into their water supply, the locals could be drinking whatever the black material is.
Locals are fed up with the terrible pollution problem with the nearby factories and the government’s lack of regulation.
“We can’t live like this. We’re suffocating here,” wrote one user.
The owner of the steel mill, ArcelorMittal Temirtau admits that the pollution from his plant and other such places is likely the culprit for the black snow. Even he knows that he is part of the problem.
Because winds were low in December, the pollution did not spread out into the countryside. Instead, it got stuck in the snow and fell back down on the town. Nevertheless, locals expect better from their business owners.
In December 2017, the national meteorological agency recorded extremely high levels of the environmental pollutant, hydrogen sulfide in Temirtau. The levels of this dangerous substance exceeded the government-mandated limit by more than 11 times. That puts everyone in the area at risk of developing health problems.
Hydrogen sulfide is highly flammable and causes life-threatening situations when not properly handled. And if it touches the human skin, it can induce “blue skin” or extreme frostbite, OSHA.gov writes.
Do you think the government needs to regulate pollution levels to keep the people safe?