Russia moves to shut down Lake Baikal paper mill

Feb 28, 2013
A cellulose plant near the Siberian town of Baikalsk on August 11, 2003. A controversial Soviet-era paper mill on the shores of Lake Baikal will be closed down, a government spokeswoman said Thursday, after years of complaints about pollution at the UNESCO-protected Siberian site.

A controversial Soviet-era paper mill on the shores of Lake Baikal will be closed down, a government spokeswoman said Thursday, after years of complaints about pollution at the UNESCO-protected Siberian site.

"A decision has been made to shut down the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill," a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told AFP. "The enterprise will be closed down over the course of the next few years."

Generations of had fought for the closure of the mill, which began operations in 1966, saying it endangers Baikal's by spewing waste into the lake.

The work of the paper mill was halted in 2008 but , then prime minister, reversed the ban in 2010, citing unemployment concerns. The plant employs nearly 1,700 people.

State development bank Vnesheconombank, which is tasked with restructuring the paper mill's debt, estimates it will take at least two years to shut it down.

Arkady Ivanov, head of the Baikal programme at in Russia, hailed the government decision but expressed surprise at the pace of the planned phase-out.

"We are very happy about this decision because Greenpeace and other environmental organisations have for many years fought for this decision," he told AFP.

"It is not very clear why the closure will take so long. According to our estimates, the enterprise can begin being dismantled already this summer."

The Russian government plans to develop alternative economic activities for the region, mainly in tourism and ecology.

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

Late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on a visit to Siberia in 2011 swam in a pool filled with water, which locals believe has medicinal powers.

Explore further: Pacific leaders say climate will claim entire nations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russians rally to save Lake Baikal

Mar 27, 2010

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.

Water pollution continues at famous Russian lake

Mar 24, 2008

Despite widespread concerns about preserving the world’s largest body of fresh water, researchers report that pollution is continuing in Russia’s fabled Lake Baikal. The study is scheduled for the April ...

Climate change threatens Lake Baikal's unique biota

May 01, 2009

Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's largest and most biologically diverse lake, faces the prospect of severe ecological disruption as a result of climate change, according to an analysis by a joint US-Russian team in the May ...

World's largest lake sheds light on climate change

Feb 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's oldest, deepest, and largest freshwater lake, has provided scientists with insight into the ways that climate change affects water temperature, which in ...

Paper giant 'pulping protected Indonesian trees'

Mar 01, 2012

Environmental group Greenpeace accused one of the world's biggest paper companies Thursday of illegally logging internationally protected trees on Indonesia's lush Sumatra island.

Recommended for you

Tracking giant kelp from space

12 hours ago

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won't have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists ...

Heavy metals and hydroelectricity

14 hours ago

Hydraulic engineering is increasingly relied on for hydroelectricity generation. However, redirecting stream flow can yield unintended consequences. In the August 2014 issue of GSA Today, Donald Rodbell of ...

What's wiping out the Caribbean corals?

14 hours ago

Here's what we know about white-band disease: It has already killed up to 95 percent of the Caribbean's reef-building elkhorn and staghorn corals, and it's caused by an infectious bacteria that seems to be ...

User comments : 0