An environmental disaster of a yet-to-be-determined cause is looming over Russia's eastern Kamchatka region as locals of the area report encountering dozens of dead sea animals washed onto a beach from the Pacific Ocean.
As more and more photos of the dead seals, large fish, octopuses, crabs, sea urchins, and other sea animals surface, and the surfers in the area report burns in their eyes and throats, the severity of the disaster is increasing.
Russian investigators stated they were faced with "a possible ecological catastrophe."
Unexplained water pollution could have happened weeks ago
The videos of the mass die-off surfaced on social media on October 2, showing numerous sea animals dead on the black volcanic sand of Khalaktyrsky Beach in the Avacha Bay, which is a popular spot among the surfers who surf the once-pristine waves of the Pacific Ocean, NBC News reported.
Some surfers and swimmers experienced fever and vomit
It is reported that the unusual occurrences were first noticed by the locals three or so weeks ago.
Surfers and swimmers who went into the water stated they started feeling ill after swimming, and one surfer, Natalia Danilova, posted an Instagram post on Friday, stating she was diagnosed with a chemical burn to her cornea possibly due to the contaminated water.
Another surfer Anton Morozov also talked about the beach's condition, stating he had "blurred vision, dry and painful eyes, and a sore throat" three weeks ago. After going back to the ocean again, he said that the situation has gotten worse, with the water not smelling normal and feeling 'sticky.'
Levels of oil products and phenol 'higher than the norm'
According to the tests it had conducted on the water samples collected from Khalaktyrsky beach, the petroleum levels were 3.6 times higher than usual with the phenol levels also being 2.5 times higher.
Russia will further investigate the issue
The full scale of the contamination is yet to be determined with the cause still remaining unknown. While there aren't any industrial accidents or oil spills that have been officially reported in the area, environmental activists are urging the government to take immediate action and investigate.
Russia told residents to stay away from the beach due to the unexplained water pollution on Saturday. Kamchatka’s regional governor Vladimir Solodov assured the public that the investigations will be launched and further testing on the beach, animals, and seawater will be made, Reuters reported. It's not clear if a clean-up will be undertaken yet.
The news comes following another environmental catastrophe that happened on the tropical island of Mauritius. The turquoise blue lagoon had completely turned black, with volunteers cutting their hair to help soak up the oil as the Mauritian government failed taking action.