Black snow in Termitau is a proof of high level of pollution in Kazakhstan

"We can't live like this. We're suffocating here," wrote on social media one user from central Kazakhstan. This occurred after the snow in the city of Temirtau, this winter, appeared to be black. A special group of scientists, made up of both independent ecologists and government experts, is working to identify the causes.

The snow looks like coal. Temirtau is the center of Kazakhstan's iron industry and the home to the country's biggest steel production plant, Karaganda Metallurgical Combine, owned by ArcelorMittal Temirtau. residents started collecting signatures for a petition addressed to Aliya Nazarbayeva, the youngest daughter of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the head of the Association of Ecological Organizations of Kazakhstan to denounce pollution.

Black snow in Termitau

ArcelorMittal Temirtau does not deny that pollution caused by its plants may have played a major role here. Karaganda region, where Temirtau is located, is known in the country in terms of harmful emissions. In 2016, nearly 600,000 tons of harmful substances were released into the air in the area. Receiving funding form the EU, during  two years, a team of Czech environmentalists drove 6000 kilometers and took 150 samples in 14 "hottest" spots in central Kazakhstan. They found Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which are among the strongest poisons in the world. There are three cities with an increased level of pollution and five with a big level. Some governmental initiatives and programs but the warning signals remain. People need more help to have a better life.