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persblog.be Update – March 7, 2016
Russia’s magnificent Lake Baikal, in south-east Siberia bordering Mongolia, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is called Russia’s ‘Sacred Sea’ for its beauty and purity. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world at about 1,700 m, contains 20% of all fresh running water on the planet, making it the single largest reservoir. The lake contains an outstanding variety of endemic flora and fauna, of exceptional value to evolutionary science.
Though the Lake has been polluted for decades by a mill. Now new horizons arise for the Lake in terms of nature preservation and sustainable economy.
The good news
• End of paper mills
• Ecological monitoring
• No nuclear plant
The bad news
• Water level drops
• Radioactive-waste processing
Challenges and solutions
End of paper mills. “Russian government bans paper and pulp production at Baikal shore” reported Russian news agency ‘Tass’
early 2015. “The biggest plant of the kind, which was working at Baikal, was closed in December, 2013.” The paper mill has been one of the major sources of pollution of the Lake during decades.
According to the same source early 2015, “The Russian government has approved a resolution on an ecological monitoring”.
Scientific research. A neutrino telescope has been dropped into Lake Baikal by Russian scientists. According to ‘Russia Today’: “These studies will be the key to understanding of early stages of the universe’s evolution, along with the nature of the forming of chemical elements, the evolution of stars and even shed light on the nature of dark matter.”
persblog.be Archives – July 11, 2014
No nuclear plant. According to Russian news agency ‘Tass’: “The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources does not consider feasible to build a nuclear power plant in the Baikal region”. Despite the fact that “Such a power plant would be able to save the Baikal region and Mongolia from energy shortage…”
Still new problems have arisen recently
Water level drops. Most recent news is provided by the Russian news agency ‘Tass’ on February 29, 2016: “Wells located 300 kilometers away from Lake Baikal, Eastern Siberia, went dry as the world’s largest fresh water reservoir continues shrinking…”
And in January 2016, ‘Tass’ published: “Baikal went below the lowest permissible mark late last December.”
In October 2015 the same source reported: “Scientists link Lake Baikal shrinking with climate changes in Asia”.
According to ‘Sputniknews.com’ mid 2015: “At the end of the 20th century Lake Baikal entered a prolonged period of water supply shortage, which could last up to 22-24 years.”
Earlier that year the “water level in Lake Baikal in Russia, the world’s largest freshwater lake, fell to a record low for the 21st century” according to the same source.
Radioactive-waste processing plant endangers Russia’s Lake Baikal. According to ‘The Moscow Times’ in October last year: “Local residents and environmentalists have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the planned construction of a radioactive-waste processing facility near Lake Baikal”. “…a project critics say could endanger a unique ecosystem”. F.D.