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Industrial Waste Makes River Run Red

Believe it or not, this country has a bit of a history when it comes to denying industrial accidents.

Last week Russia's environment minister ordered an inquiry after the River Doldykan suddenly took on the bright red hue. 

Greenpeace says this is the result of an industrial accident, which the adjacent nickel and palladium factory has denied. 

While Greenpeace told ABC News they believe a factory pipe broke and discharged industrial waste into the river, Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, said not to worry, because the river always looks like that.

A local posted these aerial views on Instagram.

Greenpeace Russia spokesman Vladimir Chuprov said the organization has asked a local laboratory to do an analysis and we are going to ensure that the authorities cannot hide this catastrophe.

Believe it or not, Russia has a bit of a history when it comes to denying industrial accidents. In 1979, an outbreak of anthrax killed 94 people over the course of several weeks. The Russian government claimed the deaths were from tainted meat, and it wasn’t until 13 years later that then-president Boris Yeltsin finally admitted they were the result of an accidental release of anthrax spores from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility.

In 2011, the National Review recapped the initial response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Soviet government and news agencies tried so hard to downplay the incident that it wasn’t until large amounts of radiation traveled to Sweden and set off alarms that Soviet Ukraine that begrudgingly came forward that an accident had occurred, but still insisted that the air and water around Kiev was safe.

Since then, tens of thousands of cancer deaths have been attributed to the disaster in Russia, Ukraine, and the surrounding countries.

Maybe the river is really supposed to that color, or maybe outlandish cover stories are just embedded in the culture.

This is IEN Now with Anna Wells. 

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