Unique wildlife of Bering Island threatened by toxic waste

Bering Island is under threat. Recently 20 tonnes of toxic waste washed ashore in cisterns. Director of the Russian Representation of the World Wildlife Fund Sergey Chestin said today on radio Echo Moskvy that a cistern filled with toxic waste washed up in a breeding ground for seals. He also said that a US company, which owns the barrel, 'admits its fault and concluded a contract with Russian rescue workers.' They are now trying to tow the toxic waste back into the sea for loading on a ship, however, because of the bad weather so far they have been unsuccessful.

Forecasters are calling for continued bad weather in the region. Chestin said that there is a serious danger of the toxic waste escaping from the cisterns.

In comparison with other uninhabited islands in the region, Bering Island has the only population of Aleuts in Russia, said Chestin. He also said the island has the largest population of fur seals in Russia, which amount to approximately 300 thousand, and a settlement of rare Northern birds. Moreover, the coastal waters of the island are inhabited by more than 20 types of seals and cetaceans.

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