RGS and Defence Ministry to clean up two islands in the Arctic

RGS and Defence Ministry to clean up two islands in the Arctic

27 May 2022

In cooperation with the Defence Ministry, the Russian Geographical Society (RGS) will do a general clean-up of two islands in the Arctic – Kildin and Wrangel. 

“This year, we will continue working with two environmental units of the Defence Ministry in two places simultaneously. This is Wrangel Island in the easternmost part of our Arctic zone and Kildin Island in the west,” said Sergei Chechulin, head of the RGO expeditions unit.

Workers will leave for Wrangel Island at the opening of the navigation season on 15 July. They will focus on an airfield by the village of Zvyozdny and a military town and an oil terminal near Cape Hawaii. The barrels collected on Zvyozdny will be pressed and delivered to the mainland. Overall, the workers plan to fill up 22 containers with scrap metal by 30 September.

According to Chechulin, the RGO expedition will use a unique plasma metal-cutting method that will make the clean-up process much more effective. The plan for 2022 is to collect about 300 tonnes of scrap metal.


Active preparations are underway to clean up the Arctic Ocean mainland coast. RGO and Defence Ministry experts have determined the level of man-made pollution in the specially protected natural areas on the Arctic archipelagos – Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands and Wrangel Island. There is about 90,000 tonnes of waste on Wrangel Island alone.