Monday, March 29, 2010

Russians rally to save Lake Baikal

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Russians on Saturday protested at the reopening of a paper mill on the shore of Lake Baikal which environmentalists say endangers one of the world's largest freshwater reserves. Nearly 200 people turned out in central Saint Petersburg, Russia's former imperial capital, as environmental organisations including Greenpeace warned of turning the scenic Siberian lake into a sewer.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in January gave the go-ahead for the reopening of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill which has been shut since 2008 and is owned by billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Demonstrators were planning to send a collection of toilet paper to Putin whose decision they argue would lead to discharging tonnes of sewage into the lake and incinerating waste on the lakefront. "If authorities are in dire need of paper and need to destroy the Baikal, we're giving them paper," said Dmitry Artamonov, the local Greenpeace chief.

Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake and a UN World Heritage site, is renowned for its unique flora and fauna and contains about 20 percent of the planet's freshwater reserves….

Lake Baikal in Siberia/Russia 7/06 at Bolshoi Koty, facing north. Shot by InvictaHOG

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