Thu, March 05, 2009
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Snow place for blizzard fallout

2009-03-05 11:17:34 GMT2009-03-05 19:17:34 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Norway runs out of storage space for snow ploughed from the streets of Oslo in the snowiest winter for two decades.

Authorities are being forced to dump tonnes of snow into the sea with more winter weather on the horizon and overfilled snow depots unlikely to melt until September.

SCRIPT:

Scandinavian nations like Norway are used to hard winters but the snowiest one in two decades is giving Oslo's street clearing teams a storage problem.

They're running out of places to dump the tonnes of snow they plough up in their battle to keep the capital moving.

The largest of its storage depots is packed solid with 180, 000 cubic metres of the stuff.

That's triple its intended capacity and is expected to take until September to melt down.

Now desperate officials are dumping snow into the sea.

That's sparked fears among environmental campaigners that pollution from traffic is going into the water with it - a charge transport chiefs deny.

SOUNDBITE: Tom Kristoffersen, Norway's Agency for Roads and Transport, saying (English):

"We have tested and we don't find very much of this any more because there is no lead in the fuel any more. There is very little stud-tyre driving in Oslo so (there is) not much pollution any more in the snow."

Ploughing up and removing the snowfall from Oslo's streets has cost nearly 12 million dollars during the first two months of this year.

Residents are not impressed.

SOUNDBITE: Unidentified Oslo resident saying (Norwegian):

"It's heavy, it's wet, it's troublesome. It's not acceptable really. It's a lot of bad ploughing."

SOUNDBITE: Unidentified Oslo resident saying (English):

"The kids get wet, we can't play, nothing. I'm bored. They should take it away."

With yet more snowfall yet to come Norway's winter woes look set to continue for some time yet.

Despite the crisis Norway and Sweden are both reporting a drop in their reservoirs for hydro-electricity generation on which both rely heavily.

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