Russian rocket stage carrying toxins to splash into Baffin Bay on Saturday

It is concerning to environmentalists that a Russian rocket stage is about to fall in Arctic waters off Baffin Island. The rocket is believed to be carrying highly toxic chemicals, which could be disastrous for biodiversity in Canadian Arctic waters.

Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Alex Speers-Roesch calls the expected event equally senseless idea as drilling for oil at the place. The rocket flew under Russia’s Rokot program, which launches commercial satellites, according to Michael Byers, a professor of international law and an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia.

An international aviation authority received warning that this Russian rocket launch will fall Saturday into Baffin Bay. Basically, the stage will fall outside Canada’s territorial waters, but inside an economic zone the country partially controls. The debris is expected to contain extremely toxic fuel.

According to Byers, Russia is following rules of informing aviation authorities to carry out launch and splashdown into bay. The stage will fall over a remote stretch of water between Greenland and the southern tip of Ellesmere Island.

“Dumping these chemicals from a ship would be a clear violation of international and Canadian law, and it is no more acceptable when it is dumped from the air”, said Speers-Roesch.

Rokot uses repurposed Cold-War-era intercontinental ballistic missiles to launch satellites. Those missiles, the SS-19, use hydrazine for fuel. Hydrazine is known to be extremely toxic. It is so toxic that technicians working with it have to use pressurized hazmat suits.

The water where the debris will splash is a habitat for narwhal, beluga, walrus and bowhead whales. These waters are also plankton-rich that attract shoals of Arctic cod, and provide food to seals, polar bears and millions of seabirds.

According to a story published on the topic by CTV News, “Canada says it wasn’t given enough warning and has asked Russia for more information about a rocket stage that is expected to splash down this weekend in environmentally sensitive Arctic waters.”

“The Government of Canada has sought clarification from the Government of Russia regarding the lack of sufficient notification of this rocket launch,” Austin Jean, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, said in an email Wednesday.

“With regard to the inquired rocket launch, the Canadian side was informed it would be done in a way that no territory of Canada or its territorial waters would be affected while the fuel of disposed rocket stages fully burn out,” Kirill Kalinin, press secretary for the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada wrote in an email.

A Russian rocket that could be carrying a highly toxic chemicals is expected to land this weekend in the Canadian Arctic in an area that’s home to numerous animal and plankton species, the Canadian Press (CP) reports,” according to a news report published by The Weather Network.

“The idea of dropping a missile full of toxic chemicals in the Arctic waters off Baffin Island is just as preposterous as drilling for oil there,” Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Alex Speers-Roesch told CP Tuesday.

“Dumping these chemicals from a ship would be a clear violation of international and Canadian law, and it is no more acceptable when it is dumped from the air.”

The rocket uses intercontinental ballistic missiles re-purposed from the Cold War-era to launch satellites. Those missiles use hydrazine for fuel, a highly toxic chemical that has been phased out of use in other countries due to the damage it can inflict on the environment.

A report published in CBC said, “Environmentalists are angry that a Russian rocket stage potentially carrying highly toxic chemicals is expected to splash down this weekend in a biodiversity hotspot in the Canadian Arctic.”

An international aviation authority has issued a notice warning that debris from a Russian rocket launch is slated to fall Saturday into Baffin Bay. That’s outside Canada’s territorial waters but inside an economic zone the country partially controls.

The space debris is a stage from a rocket set off under Russia’s Rokot program, a for-profit service that launches commercial satellites, said Michael Byers, a professor of international law and an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia.

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