According to an article by Yasemin Saplakoglu on LiveScience, there was a recent ecological disaster in the waters surrounding Kamchatka Peninsula’s Avacha bay in Russia. Some mystery pollutant infiltrated the water, causing 95% of the creatures on the seafloor to die and float ashore. Locals have observed a change in the once clear waters. The chemical odor, odd discoloration, and new burning sensation have left people deeply concerned and dumbfounded. A recent circulation of dead squid, octopus, and starfish pictures have invited local news outlets and social media users to comment as to what they believe the possible causes are. A current leading theory points to nearby rocket fuel-filled containers located within a 6-mile radius of the affected part of the sea. This spillage has not yet been confirmed as the source.

This is an octopus– an example of one of the sea creatures impacted by the unknown chemical pollutant in Russia. Now imagine this image, but thousands instead of just one.

Officials attempted to blame the mass die-off on a week of stormy weather; however, this was disproved when Aleksei Kumarkov, the region’s Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, reported that the collected water samples contained four times the normal level of petroleum. Oceans usually contain some levels of petroleum due to common oil spills, but the scenario in Russia also has many more potentially dangerous chemicals. In addition to the abnormal findings of excess petroleum, there was also a double amount of phenols . According to the CDC, “At high enough doses, phenols can cause liver or kidney damage, skin burns, tremors, convulsions and twitching”. Many groups are continuing to investigate this high-stakes situation; one being a researcher by the name of Vladimir Solodov who has announced for a “‘transparent’ investigation”. He claims he will fire any officials who attempt to sweep this incident under the rug.

This article attracted my attention because of the recent urgency surrounding alarming environmental concerns. Water pollution is the second greatest contributor to Earth’s degradation. We’ve seen a lot of trending topics that have gone viral in an attempt to shed light on our environmental issues such as “Save the Turtles”. That ended up becoming a meme; however, it was also successful at getting a lot of people to convert from plastic straws to metal straws. The statistic from this article was truly shocking and disheartening. 95% of the sea creatures in the area were wiped out. Luckily, none of the marine mammals or birds were hurt. There were few large fish, crabs and shrimps that survived. This made me think of when we briefly touched upon Darwinism in our AP Biology class. We spoke about “survival of the fittest” and relating to the article, only a select amount of certain species survived. Whether or not they were the strongest, they happened to survive, but they also need to survive to reproduce and preserve their species.

Please feel free to drop a reaction or any findings in the comments!


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