Diseased sponge  - some giving the appearance of  'disgusting black slime' - is rife in parts of Lake Baikal; elsewhere, household waste has been thrown into Baikal in 'massive' quantities. Photo: Mikhail Grachev

By Olga Gertcyk
14 July 2015

(The Siberian Times) – Humans are having a dire impact on the lake, which Russians have long boasted as one of the cleanest - if not the cleanest - on the planet, says expert  Dr Oleg Timoshkin, researcher from the Limnology Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Irkutsk.

The respected Baikal analyst paints a worrying, even alarming, account of the damage to its waters.

Diseased sponge  - some giving the appearance of  'disgusting black slime' - is rife in parts of the lake; elsewhere household waste has been thrown into Baikal in 'massive' quantities;  the underwater lake habitat around the resort of Listvyanka in Irkutsk region amounts to an 'environmental disaster'; while at Severobaikalsk water samples showed the lake was 'dead' and facing 'intensive bacteriological decay'.

Warning of the human imprint on the lake, he said: 'Baikal can't swallow it all. The lake is no longer the cleanest lake on the Earth, at least, (around the) the coastal line.'

'Water preparation and cleaning facilities of the towns close to Baikal haven't been functioning properly for the last three years, if not any longer. And all this filth gets into Baikal. It is not even possible to drink water of the rivers running through the local villages."

He warned: 'Small rivers that flow into (Baikal) showed unsatisfactory results regarding bacterias which are indicators of faecal pollution. It's simply a 'no' to drink water from these rivers.' […]

He said: 'Imagine very beautiful beaches and the coast covered with disgusting black slime. It's something totally out-of-place for Baikal, it resembles black oil waves. The coast has never looked like this before. The amounts are crazy, don't believe it if someone says anything different.' [more]

Baikal 'no longer the cleanest lake on Earth'



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