Spring clean

 作者:晏初苁     |      日期:2019-03-08 01:10:04
By Rob Edwards RUSSIAN scientists are to hunt down the major sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their country, after seven other Arctic countries agreed to help fund the work. It is the first step towards cleaning up PCBs from Russia, which is one of the major sources of PCB pollution in the Arctic. Heavily polluted northern Russian cities such as Norilsk are likely culprits. PCBs, which were widely used as insulators in electrical equipment such as transformers, are highly toxic. Countries in the Arctic region have banned their use where there is a risk of the chemicals leaking into the environment. Lars-Otto Reiersen, the executive secretary of the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme in Norway, points out that PCB levels in the fat of polar bears from the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen are six times as high as in polar bears from Alaska. Russia has so far refused to sign a UN agreement to cut emissions of PCBs and other pollutants. But last week it agreed a contract to allow the seven other countries in the Arctic region—the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark—to pay $160 000 in total for the Centre for International Projects to investigate sources of PCBs in Russia. The centre is a UN-backed research institute based in Moscow. “This is the first time that the eight Arctic countries have together funded a project aimed at reducing pollution,” says Reiersen. Last week, the British government also promised £3 million to clean up radioactive waste in the northern Russian naval port of Murmansk. Evidence emerged last year that radioactive waste from 80 scrapped nuclear submarines in the area had begun leaking into the sea (This Week, 9 May 1998,