A controversial Russian paper mill is still dumping waste into the world’s deepest lake.
Reopened in January this year, scientists say samples show the factory is continuing to pump illegal and harmful substances into Lake Baikal’s pristine waters. Using mini-submarines, the team tested close to the discharge pipes of the mill.
Igor Khanaev, Head of Research, Diving and Underwater Monitoring at the Limnological Institute said: ‘‘If we compare the water of the lake with the water around the factory pipes, there is a difference in clarity. There are heavy substances present. When working in this area, we also saw traces of these substances on the surface of the water.’‘
The paper plant has been heavily criticised as the largest source of pollution in the lake, which is estimated to contain 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water supplies.
Stunningly beautiful, Baikal is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 2008, authorities stopped production at the factory. However Russian premier Vladimir Putin allowed it to reopen this year, despite no new system to treat waste being introduced.