The governor of the Moscow Oblast has sacked a district chief two days after dozens of local children were brought to hospitals after apparently breathing gas that leaked from a garbage dump in the town of Volokolamsk.
Governor Andrei Vorobyov's office said on March 23 that he had replaced the chief of Volokolamsk district, Yevgeny Gavrilov, with another regional official.
On March 21, some 150 schoolchildren sought medical assistance after they felt extremely sick following a suspected leak of noxious gas from the Yadrovo landfill.
Angry residents scuffled with government officials in Volokolamsk, demanding explanations and closure of the dump. Vorobyov was pelted with snowballs and confronted by irate residents.
The incident came weeks after Volokolamsk authorities declared a temporary state of emergency on March 7, saying the level of hydrogen sulphide in the air was recorded as 2.5 times higher and the level of nitric oxide was double usual levels because of a gas leak at the landfill.
The Yadrovo landfill was opened in 2008 and is a dumping site for garbage from Moscow and nearby regions. Local residents have been staging protests, demanding the closure of the landfill for some time.
The Moscow regional authorities said earlier on March 23 that the landfill will suspend its operations until April 14, after which the old section of the dump will be closed.
In the past, local authorities had promised to "modernize" the landfill but refused to consider closing it.