On the northernmost edge of the Murmansk region, in the Barents Sea, is the island of Kildin. Under Soviet rule, there were several military units on it, but the last of them was liquidated in 1996. Non-ferrous metal, including copper wires from power lines, were eagerly stolen by marauders, but they did not like black metal because of the low price. Therefore, guided by concern for the environment, for the “Spring cleaning” taken by the Russian Geographical Society.

Since 2010, the Russian Geographical Society, together with representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, have been working to clean up the Arctic from the “garbage” left by man. Specialists of the Russian Geographical Society have to clean up barrels of oil products, the remains of military equipment and other iron trash that is harmful to the environment.

There is a huge amount of rusty iron on Kildin Island, which has already been collected and brought to the place of dispatch from the depths of the island by representatives of the environmental platoon from the personnel of the Kola flotilla of the diverse forces of the Northern Fleet. On the shore, it is cut into small pieces for laying in car bodies. The car carries the metal to the shore, and there it is reloaded onto a small landing craft (sailors among themselves called it a “shovel”). 

Huge piles of scrap metal ready for shipment — only a small part of what has yet to be collected on the island and sent to the “mainland”. And this rubbish spoils the really unique and incredibly picturesque nature and landscape: lighthouses, the relict lake Mogilnoye, in which the red book cod lives, the “bird market”, “Sanduki” and much more.

Due to the harsh northern climate, “cleaning” only possible during the summer. It will take at least three more years to completely clear the island.

Cleaning up scrap metal on Kildin Island

Western coast of Kildin Island. Kirill Zhuravok

Camp on the shore of Lake Mogilnoye. Kirill Zhuravok

First meal on the island. Kirill Zhuravok

In the Arctic without repellents nowhere. Kirill Zhuravok

Once there was even electricity. Kirill Zhuravok

Worship cross of Nicholas the Wonderworker. Kirill Zhuravok

In the North, plants can bloom while living on rocks. Kirill Zhuravok

Lighthouse “Kildinsky-Vostochny”. Kirill Zhuravok

Light signals are powered by solar panels. Kirill Zhuravok

It's 02:17 on the clock, but it's light like at 11 in the morning. Polar day. Kirill Zhuravok

Loading scrap metal in Kamaz. Kirill Zhuravok

Equipment awaiting disposal. Kirill Zhuravok

Volunteer Alexander uses the method of plasma cutting of metal. Kirill Zhuravok

Team work. Kirill Zhuravok

There is still a mountain of work ahead. Kirill Zhuravok

There is still a mountain of work ahead. Kirill Zhuravok

KAMAZ with scrap metal drives into the “shovel”. Kirill Zhuravok

A fresh batch of metal “garbage” is ready to depart for Murmansk. Kirill Zhuravok

Soldiers in field conditions can cook not only buckwheat with stew, but also amazing Uzbek pilaf. Kirill Zhuravok

Collection of scrap metal in the vastness of the island. Kirill Zhuravok

Unknown, possibly once a flying machine. Kirill Zhuravok

Common eider chicks. Kirill Zhuravok

“Chests” – a rock that has been exposed to storms and winds. Kirill Zhuravok

A seagull chick considers itself invisible against the background of stones. Kirill Zhuravok

Bird Market is a place of mass nesting of birds. Kirill Zhuravok

Bird market. Kirill Zhuravok

Two chicks on a walk. Kirill Zhuravok

Two chicks for a walk. Kirill Zhuravok

Worship cross. Kirill Zhuravok

A strip of land separating the Kildin Strait from Lake Mogilnoe. Kirill Zhuravok

It is not safe without armed guards, as bears live on the island. Kirill Zhuravok

Lighthouse “Kildinskiy-Northern”. Kirill Zhuravok

Scrap metal removal on Kildin Island

Western coast of Kildin Island. Kirill Zhuravok

Camp on the shore of Lake Mogilnoye. Kirill Zhuravok

First meal on the island. Kirill Zhuravok

In the Arctic without repellents nowhere. Kirill Zhuravok

Once there was even electricity. Kirill Zhuravok

Worship cross of Nicholas the Wonderworker. Kirill Zhuravok

In the North, plants can bloom while living on rocks. Kirill Zhuravok

Lighthouse “Kildinsky-Vostochny”. Kirill Zhuravok

Light signals are powered by solar panels. Kirill Zhuravok

It's 02:17 on the clock, but it's light like at 11 in the morning. Polar day. Kirill Zhuravok

Loading of scrap metal in Kamaz. Kirill Zhuravok

Equipment awaiting disposal. Kirill Zhuravok

Volunteer Alexander uses the method of plasma cutting of metal. Kirill Zhuravok

Team work. Kirill Zhuravok

There is still a mountain of work ahead. Kirill Zhuravok

There is still a mountain of work ahead. Kirill Zhuravok

KAMAZ with scrap metal drives into the “shovel”. Kirill Zhuravok

A fresh batch of metal “garbage” is ready to depart for Murmansk. Kirill Zhuravok

Soldiers in field conditions can cook not only buckwheat with stew, but also amazing Uzbek pilaf. Kirill Zhuravok

Collection of scrap metal in the vastness of the island. Kirill Zhuravok

Unknown, possibly once a flying machine. Kirill Zhuravok

Common eider chicks. Kirill Zhuravok

“Chests” – a rock that has been exposed to storms and winds. Kirill Zhuravok

A seagull chick considers itself invisible against the background of stones. Kirill Zhuravok

Bird Market is a place of mass nesting of birds. Kirill Zhuravok

Bird market. Kirill Zhuravok

Two chicks on a walk. Kirill Zhuravok

Two chicks on a walk. Kirill Zhuravok

Worship cross. Kirill Zhuravok

A strip of land separating the Kildin Strait from Lake Mogilnoe. Kirill Zhuravok

It is not safe without armed guards, as bears live on the island. Kirill Zhuravok

Lighthouse “Kildinskiy-Northern”. Kirill Zhuravok

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