In Russia, some people say the city of Karabash is the blackest point on the planet. As Dmitrij, the photographer writes: “Karabash is Southern Uralian Mars. It has all the signs of an extraterrestrial place – dead soil, covered with cracks, a river with its reddish-yellow waters with no signs of life and black artificial mountains.”
Then he explains that the reason for all this is a large copper molding factory which has poisoned the local nature for years. He says that in the 1990s the city was called the most polluted city on Earth and acknowledged as a real catastrophic site.
Here are a few photos of the place taken by Dmitrij with his flying drone:
“After one hour of taking photos I felt physically sick. My eyes become damp because of the strong bitter smell in the air, I felt dizzy.”
“We knew from the news reports of the 1990s that this place is horrific: acid rain, air is poisoned, river is dead, not any chance to survive.”
“However, years passed and local authorities reported that they installed some very high tech air cleaning systems and stuff. However, when you enter the place even the feel of the air makes you want run away as fast as possible.”
“There is something surreal in this copper valley. It looks like there is a border between two worlds: the world of the alive and the territory of the dead”, this is the way Dmitry describes the feelings he got from a visit to Karabash.
“The copper factory gave the city life, and the copper factory took the life away. After the collapse of the USSR, the factory was closed and the dirtiest city become the poorest city as well. People had to protect their lives from the crime as well. “
According to what he says, the new owners of the factory try to invest in clean air solutions. However, after he read local websites and community forums, he felt that people were still living in despair. They simply didn’t have the air to breathe.
After the ore is processed, tons of sludge is accumulated all around. They form large black mounds. “Like Sauron’s castle”, says Dmitry.
He says locals told him that in the 1990s Japanese people offered their help in removing the waste out of the city. They found a way to get the residue of copper from these leftovers and in exchange for having this metal they offered their help in moving all the black mountains away from the city. However they were not allowed to do this.
“There was a plan that in 2014 Americans wanted to save the city, however the recent political escalation didn’t allow this to happen either”, says the blogger.
“The road that leads to the city is covered with pits and holes, it’s like nature itself doesn’t want you to go to the sick city”.
“The symbol of the modern Karabash is a Bald Hill. Trees used to grow on it, but now it remains deserted and without vegetation. Only a Cross stands on the hill with an inscription, Help us and Save us”.
Thanks to Dmitry for all those beautiful photos that he shared with us!