Submariners feed polar bears with garbage

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This bag with plastic waste and food garbage from the submarine is not the polar bear’s traditional dinner. (Location Unkown/ Provided by Blogger51 courtesy of Barents Observer)
This bag with plastic waste and food garbage from the submarine is not the polar bear’s traditional dinner. (Location Unkown/ Provided by Blogger51 courtesy of Barents Observer)
These revealing photos, taken at an unknown location in the Arctic, show how crewmembers of a Russian nuclear powered submarine are attracting attention from a polar bear by throwing out food. “Feeding them human trash is downright disgusting,” says Arctic Advisor Nils Harley Boisen with WWF-Norway.

A ballistic missile submarine of the Delta-IV class has surfaced near to an ice-floe where a polar bear is spotted. There, the photos show crewmembers throwing loads of garbage, mainly old bread and plastic packaging, into the water to attract the polar bear’s attention.

There are apparently also other foodstuff, plastic bags- and bottles and other garbage, both in the water and on the ice-floe.

BarentsObserver doesn’t know neither the date, nor the location of where the photos are captured. We have got the photos from Aleksandr Serebryanikov, well known as Blogger51 in Murmansk, Russia’s Arctic capital and the administration center of the Kola Peninsula where all the Northern Fleet’s nuclear powered submarines are based.

”Feeding wild polar bears human food is reprehensible for a number of reasons – feeding them human trash is downright disgusting,” says Nils Harley Boisen, Arctic Advisor withWWF Norway to BarentsObserver.

When reviewing the photos, he is disappointed with the Russian Navy’s behaviour.

“The fact that this is the Russian Navy dumping trash in to the oceans is deplorable – marine debris is among the greatest threats facing our oceans and I would really expect the Russian Navy to conduct themselves at a much higher standard,” says Nils Harley Boisen.

This bag with plastic waste and food garbage from the submarine is not the polar bear’s traditional dinner. (Location unkown/ Provided by Bloger51, courtesy of Barents Observer)
This bag with plastic waste and food garbage from the submarine is not the polar bear’s traditional dinner. (Location unkown/ Provided by Bloger51, courtesy of Barents Observer)

Also the Governor of Svalbard, Norway’s Arctic archipelago home to thousands of polar bears, says to BarentsObserver that ”this way of waste management is very unfortunate.”

Eigil Movik is Senior Advisor on Nature Managment. ”It will take a very long time before plastic thrown into the sea decompose. The degradation process will involve plastic fragments of different sizes, ranging from large plastic pieces to micro plastic fragments. Seabirds, fish and other animals often confuse plastic fragments with their prey and, if eaten, it can cause death to the animals because their digestive system are blocked.”

The photos of the Russian submarine crew is not taken within Norway’s economical waters near to Svalbard, but if this had happend at Svalbard, it would clearly violate Norwegian law, Movik explains.

”Based on these provisions, the waste treatment shown in the pictures is violation of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act,” says Eigil Movik.

Nils Harley Boisen with WWF says there are no international rules for dumping trash outside of a country’s exclusive economic zone.

“However, all Arctic nations certainly have their own version of for example Norway’s pollution legislation that would prohibit this in their own national waters. As far as feeding trash to wild polar bears are concerned – it’s not illegal but it’s certainly not wise.”

The polar bear, normally hunting for seals from ice floes like this, can’t resist the food dumped over board from the submarine. Here, lots of bread and other foodstuff. (Location unkown/ Provided by Blogger51, courtesy Barents Observer)
The polar bear, normally hunting for seals from ice floes like this, can’t resist the food dumped over board from the submarine. Here, lots of bread and other foodstuff. (Location unkown/ Provided by Blogger51, courtesy Barents Observer)

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is publiclly know for advocating protection of polar bears. He even runs a dedicated site for the polar bear program at his Kremlin portal.

There are polar bears all around the circumpolar Arctic waters. The one on the photos is likely taken somewhere in the northeastern Barents Sea or north of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. Those are the ice-covered waters where Russian ballistic missile submarines normally patrol. Waters outside the coast of Siberia are to shallow for submarines to sail.

Norway and Russia share a population of 3,000 polar bears that are migrating on the ice from Spitsbergen in the west to Novaya Zemlya in the east.

The Svalbard Environmental Protection Act also ban any attempt to lure, pursue or otherwise disturb polar bears.

Eigil Movik explains that feeding a polar bear would be a violation of the law.

Related stories from around the North:

Greenland: Study finds increase in litter on Arctic seafloor, Blog by Mia Bennett

Sweden: Sweden tackles plastic bag problem, Radio Sweden

United States: Tsunami of trash looms for Alaska beaches, Alaska Dispatch News

 

 

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Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

3 thoughts on “Submariners feed polar bears with garbage

  • Avatar
    16 July 2015 at 17 h 13 min
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    This is typical russian military mentality, bloody Morons. So bloody sad…..

    Reply
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  • Avatar
    20 November 2018 at 8 h 32 min
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    Who gives a ****? one covert submarine dumps a few pounds of trash and a bear trifles through it. What’s the submariners to do? go to the nearest recycling depot? I’ll bet you they’d cause more environmental harm wasting gas doing that than they would just dumping a bit of trash in the middle of nowhere.
    8=================D ”’ spaceship

    Reply

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