Black snow has fallen on a city in Kazakhstan, leaving its residents worried over the coal-covered flakes.
Locals have blamed the emissions produced by Temirtau’s numerous factories, leading to an investigation by the city’s officials.
Some locals told The Astana Times that there was a strange smell drifting around the city.
Many residents, worried about their health, took to Instagram and other social media platforms to call on the government to investigate the incident.
“We can’t live like this. We’re suffocating here,” one user wrote.
Temirtau is considered the worst city in the country for harmful emissions.
In December 2017, Kazakhstan’s meteorological agency recorded levels of hydrogen sulphide in the city, which exceeded the government-mandated limit by more than 11 times.
In the previous year, the country’s statistics committee found almost 600,000 tons of harmful substances had been released into Karaganda’s air.
Temirtau is the iron centre of Kazakhstan, and the home to the country’s biggest steel production plant — Karaganda Metallurgical Combine.
Many in Temirtau believe that this metallurgical complex is what has polluted the snow.
Angry 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 Organisations of Kazakhstan.
“The snow acts as a litmus test, revealing the frightening scale of these harmful emissions,” the letter said. “All that dust from the plant ends up in our lungs, and in the lungs of our kids.”