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29 Nov 2021

Artyem Sochnev,

Kazakhstan: Magnetic dust and industrial smoke clog the air near ArcelorMittal steel plant

Notorious Kazakh steel town’s ‘magnetic dust’ attracts attention, 5 November 2021

In Temirtau, a town in central Kazakhstan living under the shadow of a giant multinational steelmaker, residents don’t need to be told that there is metal in the air.

But the recent videos that they posted proving the magnetic qualities of the industrial dust lining their windows have helped to refocus national attention on the city’s ecological woes.

“Windowsill, magnet,” said a resident in a video she recorded, as she moved a magnet over the dark specks on her sill. “Nightmare,” she added, after the magnet sucked them up...

For as long as anyone can remember, Temirtau has been an environmental disaster zone.

In the summer, residents fear opening their windows for the belching smoke that they say intensifies during the night.

Periodic scandals showcasing the city’s air quality force the government to talk tough with the town’s largest private employer, steelworks operator ArcelorMittal Temirtau...

In a November 2 interview with the broadcaster, [environmental activist Stanislav] Voitsekhovsky described the dust as “particles of graphite that are kind of flat and have the ability to float. They fly out [from the steelworks’ smokestacks] along with the smoke and settle everywhere: on windows, on windowsills, and what is most dangerous – in the lungs.” ...