Khalaktyrsky beach in the Kamchatka Peninsula in far east Russia is a popular Travel destination for surfers. Suddenly, they noticed something wrong when some of them experienced health issues while in the water. These were burning sensation in the retina and symptoms similar to food poisoning. The incidents happened in early September, and the color of the water also changed. Besides, there was a foul smell in the area, and marine creatures began to wash up on the beach. Initially, the local authorities did not give much importance to it, but they finally decided to investigate.

Russia's Investigative Committee launched a criminal probe into the occurrence. They suspected possible violations related to the use of hazardous substances that might have found its way into the water and damaged the Environment.

CNN adds a meeting between Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Solodov, and local scientists on the subject of dead marine life lying on the seabed. One of the scientists explained the large-scale death of different types of organisms at depths from 32 feet to 49 feet (10 meters to 15 meters). The scientists added that the contaminated area could be much larger than what they examined. The matter is serious because a shortage of food threatens the remaining marine life. The findings are in line with reports of locals posted on social media.

Officials in Russia are examining all possibilities

In the initial stages, the ministry officials in Kamchatka did not agree about anything being out of the ordinary. On the subject of discoloration of the water and the foul smell, they insisted that there was "nothing abnormal." However, there was a social media backlash. CNN says that subsequently, a well-known YouTuber posted drone shots of the surface of the water.

The video also showed plenty of dead animals that had washed up on the shore. That made the authorities sit up and take notice. The Investigative Committee said its investigators are checking out all possible sources of pollution. These include landfills in the vicinity apart from locations where toxic chemicals are stored.

Greenpeace Russia suggests the source could be a nearby toxic waste dump

Many theories are doing the rounds to identify the source of contamination. Initial probes indicated high levels of phenol in the water. This is a substance associated with antiseptic or disinfectant. Levels of petroleum were also on the higher side. CNN quotes local media outlets that speculated about an oil tanker leak or some military drill that went wrong. The Defense Ministry denied this. Greenpeace Russia feels a nearby toxic waste dump could be the starting point of the leak. Russia has been involved in several ecological disasters. The latest one was of a damaged oil tanker that poured 20,000 tons of fuel from a damaged container into a Siberia river.

In the 1980s, Russia witnessed the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, and the area is now able to sustain life after more than three decades

Experts in Russia trying to establish reasons for the water pollution

According to DW, the authorities in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in Russia have cautioned people against visiting the nearby Khalaktyrsky beach. This came because surfers complained of several health issues after they had ventured into the water. The founder of a local surfing school was the first to notice this. Subsequently, dead octopuses, seals, sea urchins, and starfish appeared along the beach. There was also discoloration of the water. Vladimir Solodov, Governor of the Kamchatka region, attributed this to water pollution. This could be from a toxic spill, volcanic activity in the area, and naturally occurring algal blooms. Authorities have launched an investigation.