[Russia, Lake Baikal. all images from Landscape at LJ]
For decades since 1966, a paper mill once stood there, gorging on the land around it and pumping acrid waste into the lake. It was owned by one of Russia’s most powerful oligarch. For decades, conservationists fought to have it shut down, and it was, for a while in late 2008.
After an 18-month ‘review’ in February, the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper mill was back at work.
I feel it is a cop-out to quote economic considerations. Crucially, a bankrolled result in a fight between the environment, jobs, and political friends is a sign of sluggard ethics and short-sightedness.
Of all the things politicians and lobbyists usually obscure and twist, impact on the environment is usually an area they can and do flat-out deny; they know its the area of least concern across al groups, and the littlest pinprick in their popularity.
Apparently, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had taken a little submarine dive into southern Lake Baikal, and then announced to the assembled media:
“As far as Baikal is concerned, it’s in good condition,” he said. “There is practically no pollution.” [Guardian]
Currently, Lake Baikal is also under a review. It may be struck off the World Heritage list as its pollution and denigration grows.