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Black snow in Siberia

The black snow has locals concerned about what they’re breathing in. Image: Siberian Times

The Inertia

Siberia isn’t exactly known for its tropical weather. It’s known to most people for being a place with harsh, unforgiving winters and wonderful vodka to make people forget about the harsh, unforgiving winters. The thing about winter, though, is that no matter how much you might hate snow, it’s hard not to appreciate how pretty a fresh dusting of it is. Unless, that is, it’s the kind snow that recently fell in Siberia: black snow.

For the last few days, residents of the Kemerovo region of southwest Siberia in the Kuznetsk Basin have been dusting the black snow off their cars. The Kemerovo region is, somewhat unsurprisingly, an area that produces enormous amounts of coal.

The Siberian Times reported that there’s a good chance the coal plants are to blame for the black snow that fell in the cities of Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk, and Leninsk-Kuznetsky. “‘No cleansing systems, all the waste, dust, and dirt, coal lay in the area,” wrote one resident on social media. “Our children—and us—are breathing it. It’s just a nightmare.”

Black snow in Siberia

Residents awoke to a strange sight recently. Image: Siberian Times

According to The Times, Director General of Prokopyevskaya factory told a local television station that “a shield stopped working at his plant protecting the air from coal powder,” but went on to spread the blame on “coal boilers, car exhausts, and other coal-burning plants.”


This isn’t the first time black snow has fallen, either. Just a few months ago, The Moscow Times ran a story accusing authorities of actually painting the snow white in an effort to conceal the soot-laden stuff that was falling from the sky.


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