Russia plans on cleaning up the Arctic diesel spill which hit a remote territory in Siberia last year using the prisoners.
Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Prison Service (FSIN) in Russia, reportedly said that a mutual decision has been decided with the Arctic city of Norilsk’s administration.
“Russia’s FSIN is looking into the possibility of getting convicts involved in the cleanup of the Arctic zone,” said Kalashnikov in a meeting that was confirmed by the prison service.
Norilsk, located just above the Arctic Circle is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Alexander Kalashnikov asked management officials of the prison to continue working on the pertaining problem.
More than 20,000 tonnes of diesel was spilled last year when a fuel reservoir operated by Norilsk Nickel, collapsed at the power plant on the outskirts of the northern city. This spill played a major role in contaminating the ecosystem there.
Ecologists say that this spill may take years to clean up as it was one of the worst accidents to ever happen in the Arctic region.
Russian prison officials spoke publicly at a forum about how inmates of the prison should be used in the environmental clean-up process. Authorities stated that prisoners can also help in cleaning up the illegal dumps of waste in northern Arkhangelsk.
With Russia having a history of using forced labour in construction projects in the Arctic, there is no possibility of incentives for the convicts such as higher wages or a reduced sentence.
In the early 1930s, Gulag prisoners were used for massive establishment projects in the Arctic such as the White Sea-Baltic Canal.