AKIPRESS.COM - Much of the snow in the city of Temirtau in central Kazakhstan is black.
Instead of the usual white powder that children love to play with, the snow looks more like coal after a mysterious dark dust settled on the city in the beginning of January.
A special group of scientists, made up of both independent ecologists and government experts, is working to identify the causes.
Temirtau is the centre of Kazakhstan's iron industry and the home to the country's biggest steel production plant - Karaganda Metallurgical Combine, owned by ArcelorMittal Temirtau, a subsidiary of the global industrial giant ArcelorMittal.
Many in Temirtau believe that pollution from this metallurgical complex is what has turned the snow black.
A post shared by Темиртау | Казахстан (@temirtau.city) onJan 5, 2018 at 6:08am PST
Due to windless weather conditions in December, the company told the BBC in a statement, "emissions do not dissipate and this most likely caused the change of the snow's colour".
Residents have created a petition for the head of the Association of Ecological Organisations of Kazakhstan stating: "The snow acts as a litmus test, revealing the frightening scale of these harmful emissions. All that dust from the plant ends up in our lungs, and in the lungs of our kids."
A group of independent ecologists and government officials are currently investigating the phenomenon.
ArcelorMittal has been fined in the past for excess air pollution.