Deepest, largest, oldest – Lake Baikal in Siberia is unique. Formed an estimated 25 million years ago in an ancient rift valley, it holds 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined. At 5,371 ft (1,637 m) deep, it is the deepest. It is 395.2 miles (636 km) long and home to 1700 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which don’t exist anywhere else. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Lake Baikal has much to offer. One thing it will no longer have, however, is the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has stated that the environmental concerns of the lake outweigh those of the paper mill, which was opened in the industrial heydey of the the mid 1960s. It is estimated that the process of shutting down the plant will take two years – the liquidation of plant waste will take 4-6 years. Future plans include developing the area for tourism.
Medvedev was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.”It’s time to muster up the courage and make responsible decisions.”
UPI.com article – Russia will spend $437.4 million closing down Baikal paper mill
AP article – Russia to close paper mill on Lake Baikal