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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2011  /  June 2011  /  The future of Lake Baikal

The future of Lake Baikal

Anson Mackay debates pollution impacts on The Voice of Russia

The future of Lake Baikal

Dr Anson Mackay, who has been researching Lake Baikal for almost 20 years, was recently invited by The Voice of Russia, the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service, to debate the impacts of pollution on Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal is one of the world's most important freshwater ecosystems, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. The lake contains approximately one fifth of the world's surface freshwater, and is home to over 2,500 species, the majority of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Threats to this ecosystem are very real, however, from pollution and future global warming. Perhaps the most infamous source of pollution is the Baikalsk Paper and Pulp Mill (BPPM). In July 2010, UNESCO were informed that pollution problems from the Mill would be solved within 30 months. After a period of closure, government officials recently reopened the Mill. This has raised international concern for the health of organisms living in the lake, although consensus on the level of impact is far from resolved.



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