Norilsk in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia is one of the largest arctic cities (over 170,000 people). This area is rich in nickel, copper, palladium and cobalt deposits that have been discovered and started being exploited at the beginning of the 20th century. Since 1930's the city is the home to “Norilsk Nickle” the biggest mining and the metallurgical complex (six underground mines) in the world. The citizens experience noxious gases emitted from the mining and industrial activities, while even more extreme condition of pollution are experienced daily by the workers in the mining and metallurgical complex. The pollution consist of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, phenol, and chlorine that contaminated both air and water and therefore had an negative impact on local lakes and the fragile tundra ecosystem. According to the Blacksmith Institute (2007), Norilsk is one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.
“Norilsk Nickle” employs over a half of Norilsk’s population and the citizens have rarely protested environmental pollution. Instead more critique came from Greenpeace Russia, and it is hard to say when the conflict started. President Vladimir Putin visited the city in 2010 and announced an increase in environmental fines if the company do not cut out the amount of pollution. This resulted in increase of the company’s investments in environmental measures in production processes. Further measures included the shouting down of 74 years old nickel factor in 2013, which should reduce emission level for 75%. There is also a plan to install equipment at the copper factory that would reduce sulphur dioxide pollution by 75–80% by 2020, but there is no references to other pollutants. Although there are signs that Norilsk is making efforts to combat its high pollution by replacing old equipment with new more environmentally friendly technology, the pollution still occurs. Most lately in September 2016, local people reported heavy pollution that turned the Daldykan River’s water into red. The Company’s official explanation was that heavy rain caused a filtration dam to flood into the river.