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'Baikal tributaries drain an area the size of Britain and France combined'

'There is no way back', Prime Minister Medvedev says as the main polluter of Lake Baikal is to close

By 0 and 0 and 0
19 June 2013


The prime minister said that the fate of the plant had led to 'heated debates'. The plant began work in 1966 and produces 200,000 tons of pulp annually. Picture: A.Dvorkovich 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: 'It's time to muster up the courage and make responsible decisions'. Environmentalists say Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill threatens the lake's unique species of plants and animals.

Bailkal is the world's deepest lake holding more water than all the Northern American Great Lakes combined. Previous closure attempts have failed due to the threat to employment in Baikalsk, which has a 14,000 population, and the need for the pulp produced by the mill.

Baikalsk is a single industry town but now will be forced to diversify and embrace tourism. 

At the lake on Tuesday, Medvedev insisted 'there's no way back' on the decision to close the plant. He pledged nearly $1 billion toward the development of the area and also hinted at tax breaks to boost Baikal tourism.

The prime minister said that the fate of the plant had led to 'heated debates'. The plant began work in 1966 and produces 200,000 tons of pulp annually. 

Medevdev was speaking at Listvyanka during a meeting the United Russia activists. New plans for Baikalsk include a tourist economic zone. 'Major work is in store,' said Medvedev.

The problems associated with the closure were highlighted by the absence of hot water in the town currently, due to the municipality's debts, it is claimed. 

The tourism zone should be set up by the end of the summer.

Comments (1)

But it is obvious that new modern oxygen-based Pulp and Paper Mills are necessary in the Far East, next to the Pacific Ocean, which can process timber into more value added goods like paper and cardboard. They should be oxygen-based, and not chlorine based. The result has been positive in many places, and even clams and mussels profit from the warm water coming from the mill. But a more logical place would be the Pacific Ocean or a large river like the Amur which water leads to the Ocean. What doesn´t make sense is such a mill inside a closed place like Lake Baikal.
Enrique, Spain
26/06/2013 09:12

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