Image: Vkontakte

A Russian river near the Arctic Circle seems to have turned blood red, with locals claiming the waste from a nickel plant is to blame.

Pictures posted on VKontakte, the Russian equivalent to Facebook, and Instagram appear to show the river Daldykan near the towns of Norilsk flowing a bright red color.

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A photo posted by (@ an.toto) on Sep 7, 2016 at 12:46 am PDT

An indigenous group linked the river’s shade to a nickel-processing factory, Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant, belonging to Norilsk Nikel, the area’s most important metals company.

Some residents claimed the river is polluted by a discharge from the plant. Others said the colouring is a consequence of wastewater mixed with mineral ore leaking from the factory into the river.

However, the metals company denied that a leak of industrial waste took place in Norilsk. It added that helicopters are monitoring the area around the river to look for possible environmental hazards.

The company even provided a local news organization, Tayga Info , with a picture showing the river with normal colors.

“As far as we are aware, the color of the river today is not different from its normal country, ” it said.

Home to the world’s largest heavy metal smelting complex, Norilsk is known to be one of Russia’s – and the world’s – most polluted places. More than 4 million tons of cadmium, copper, leading, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc are released into the air every year.

Norilsk Nickelis one of Russia’s leading producers of non-ferrous and platinum-group metals.

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