200 tons of mercury in abandoned Kyiv factory
Huge amounts of highly toxic mercury are evaporating into the air in an abandoned factory in Kyiv, Ukraine
An abandoned factory in Kyiv contains approximately 200 tons of mercury which is evaporating into the air, contaminating the city. Budget cuts in 2013 also cut down the planned clean-up of the mercury contamination.
The abandoned JSC Radical factory was in operation until 1996 and originally located outside the city of Kyiv. With the city’s growth, the factory is now surrounded by residential and trade areas, threatening the public health.
A budget shortfall and subsequent budget cuts in 2012 and 2013 also froze the municipality’s plans to clean up the plant. The mercury on the premises of the factory is evaporating into the air or leaking into the groundwater from puddles of quicksilver. Besides the estimated 200 tons of mercury, another 200 000 tons of debris and material, including the top soil level of the factory’s ground is highly contaminated with mercury.
Local residents are often unaware of the chemical spill or the dangers of mercury poisoning. Mercury impairs vision, hearing, and causes neurological diseases. Also, it can accumulate in the food chain and can thus persist as a health threat long after cleaning up.