Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called for a "major cleaning" of the Arctic, where the level of pollution is six times higher than normal.
The Russian government's press service said on Thursday that the prime minster had visited the Alexandra Land, one of the islands of the Franz Josef Land archipelago in Russia's far north.
"The reduction of military cooperation after the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in this scrapheap which we can observe," the Russian premier said.
Thousands of barrels containing used lubricants, as well as plane, car and other wreckage have been piled up in the Arctic for years.
Putin said the amount of used lubricants piled up in the Arctic territories ranged from
40,000 to 60,000 tons and called for a "major cleaning" of the Arctic, which, he said, has a strategic importance for Russia.
"Arctic hosts our naval bases, as well as aviation patrol routs. There are also economic interests, natural recourses. The Stockman [gas deposit] is 300 kilometers away from the Barents Sea coast. Major transport communications of the Northern Sea Route are here," the Russian premier said.
Putin has called for international cooperation to preserve the polar bear population in the Arctic, which has been threatened by ecological problems. If the temperature increases by 3-4 degrees Celsius, the situation would become even worse, he said.
"This should be [done] in partnership between the state and the private sector. But the state should take the first steps - to reveal the nature and the significance of the danger, to understand how to utilize waste products," Putin said, adding this should be done as soon as possible.
MOSCOW, April 29 (RIA Novosti)