Sunday, December 29, 2002

Police in Ukraine have impounded a number of radioactive Christmas trees, reports say. The trees were said to have been cut down in an area contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Officials seized the fir trees at local markets in the southern town of Rovno, where they were being sold for the upcoming Orthodox Christmas, Itar-Tass agency reported. After the region was covered by a radioactive cloud, a complete ban on the felling of trees in the contaminated forests surrounding Chernobyl was imposed.

Police said the local businessmen knew the trees from the Zhytomyr region were contaminated, and used forged documents to sell them. The authorities are now trying to trace people who have already bought the trees. According to a UN report, 16 years after disaster, thousands of people are still living in contaminated areas.

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