Water in the Daldykan River near the city of Norilsk in northern Russia has turned red.  The government has ordered an investigation in to the cause of the unusual phenomenon. Some people have said iron ore (iron makes your blood red) from the ground could be the source of the pollution. However pollution from a nearby industrial plant is thought to be the most likely cause.

In the city of Norilsk there is a huge plant (factory) that processes nickle and palladium. Waste from the plant is transported via a pipeline and is thought this pipeline might have broken, spilling the red waste liquid into the river.

Norilsk Nickel, the company that runs the processing plant denies that their activities have caused the problem, stating “colour of the river today doesn’t differ from its usual condition”.

Nickle is used to make alloys (combinations of metals) that do not rust. Palladium is used in catalytic converters.  Part of a car exhaust that reduced pollution.

Check your understanding

  1. Where is Norilsk?
  2. What theories have been put forward about the Daldykan River turning red?
  3. Which theory do you think is most likely and why?
  4. What does the company that own the nickle processing plant say?