Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Unwanted inheritance

Volunteers of the Green Arctic project clean the Yamal Peninsula from the rubbish remaining there from the Soviet times

18 may 2022

18.05.2022 // The Green Arctic public organisation has been working in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region for nine years now. Volunteers remove fuel drums, used heavy equipment parts, other waste — everything that was left on Yamal during the period of its active industrial development in the Soviet years.

This year, for the first time ever, volunteers of the Green Arctic Interregional Public Eco-Sociological Organisation (IPEO), will clean the territory of the polar station at Cape Marre-Sale on Yamal. The main task of the 15 volunteers is to collect fuel drums, press them and prepare for removal. At Cape Marre-Sale it used to be the job of soldiers from the environmental platoon of the Central Military District, but now it has become the responsibility of the volunteers.

Photo from the Green Arctic official VK group /

Another expedition of 20-22 people will go to the Yamal village of Seyakha to continue the cleanup that began in 2020 and 2021. This is the third year that volunteers have been clearing Seyakhinskaya tundra from scrap metal, wood, glass, plastic and other waste left over from Soviet times.

For the first time, about 30 Green Arctic volunteers will clean up the closed Polyarny town in the Ural Mountains. It had been built during the Soviet era for development of the Kharbey deposit, but it was eventually abandoned. Heavy vehicles have already been delivered. In summer, volunteers will collect the remaining small-size demolition waste and other rubbish.

All three expeditions are scheduled for late July and will continue for about two weeks. 78 people aged between 18 and 63 from 24 regions of Russia and three countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Israel — will take part in the summer environmental projects. A total of 199 applications have been submitted for the programme this year, 42 from Russian regions, 7 from foreign countries: Belarus, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Germany and Turkey.

Photo from the Green Arctic official VK group /

Green Arctic was founded in 2014. Over 9 years, it has conducted 14 major expeditions with 270 volunteers from Russia and 11 countries around the world. Notable projects are volunteer cleanups of the Bely and Vilkitsky Islands.

Photo by Georgy Andreev /

Green Arctic collaborates with scientists from the environmental protection sector of the Arctic Research Centre on many projects. And this year it will work together with the federal project 'Clean Arctic'.

'One of the priorities of the Arctic agenda is to clean up the territory from the accumulated hazardous traces of economic activity, which are estimated to amount to millions of tonnes. The "Clean Arctic" federal project is an important step in this direction. Initiated by our compatriots, who devoted their lives to the Arctic, it has resonated across the country,' — says Alexei Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic.

Author of the title photo: Taras Manilyk /

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