Cleaning up all the garbage…

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Please check out this fine organization- Let’s Do It: Save Baikal!-working to clean up all the garbage at Lake Baikal. In addition to cleaning up all the discarded trash at the most beautiful place in the world, they are working hard to create and establish systems to deal with all the garbage long term. This makes sense of course, because there will always be trash and it will always need to be dealt with in the best possible way. Smart solutions from smart people. Now, can someone please explain to me how people can just toss their trash about like that? Ugh, I’ll never understand that. That’s another post for another day. In the meantime, go to their website and support them- they are making a difference!

taken directly from Baikal Wave website.

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follow the link at the end and have a look at Baikal Wave’s blogspot for yourself. also, please consider donating to Baikal Wave!

from Baikal Wave:
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Rallies in defense of Lake Baikal appear all over Russia
On the 27th and 28th March, rallies in defense of Baikal were held in various cities all over Russia.

At 20:30 on the 27th March in Irkutsk, a flash mob showing their support for the defense of Baikal was organised to coincide with the ‘Earth Hour’. A group of approximately 40 young people laid burning decorative candles in the shape of Lake Baikal on the alsphalt floor, then doing the same to form a figure 60. This thus expressed support for the rallies and actions taking place throughout the country in defense of Baikal and against the water pollution of the Lake by the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill (BPPM).

On the 28th March, a trek across the frozen surface of Baikal took place under the slogan “Baikal without the BPPM”. Around 200 Irkutsk residents of various ages, both young to old, travelled the 13km distance from Old Angasolka to Slyudyanka across the ice of Lake Baikal. The crossing took place without incident, and as a sign of protecting Lake Baikal protesters held up flags bearing the event’s slogan and blue ribbons. The event was organized by the Baikal movement.

In Ulan Ude on the 27th March, a rally was held which combined formal presentations with artistic, creative and entertaining numbers. For example, participants actively expressed their emotions using marker pens on a “Wailing Wall’ and shared a pie called “Assets of the BPPM”, which was laid out and given to children at the event. At the end of the rally, participants held Chinese lanterns bearing candles and the symbol of Baikal – an Apple. During the rally, 500 signatures were collected in an appeal to UNESCO, the Government and the President, supporting the adopted resolution of the activists.

On the 27th March, 800 people gathered at a rally in St. Petersburg. The event opened with the words of Vladimir Putin: “If there is even the slightest chance of contaminating Lake Baikal, we must do everything possible not to simply minimize this danger, but to remove it altogether”. These were the words uttered in 2006 by the then President, who at the time decided to relocate a planned oil pipeline away from the shore of Baikal. Four years later, in January 2010, Putin signed a decree authorizing the discharge of waste water of the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill into the Lake. At the rally, toilet paper was collected, symbolising that with which the authories wish to destroy Lake Baikal. Petersburgers sacrificed around 200 rolls of toilet paper in total. The collection of rolls was intended by the organizers to be sent to Vladimir Putin, the author of the decree which allows the discharge of sewage into Baikal.

On the 28th of March, a large rally-concert was organised in Moscow by the coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations “For Baikal!”, which brought together several hundred residents in the capital. Similar actions were held in Petrazavodsk, Chelyabinsk and Barnaul.

Calls to protect the lake were also supported by the actor Lev Prygunov and Viktor Bychkov, the writer Valentin Rasputin, music critic Artem Troitsky, leader of the group DDT Yuri Shevchuk, Ilya “Devil” (of the band “Pilot”) and Michael Nowicki (of the group ‘SP Babai’). As well as this, over the past two weeks a petition for the defense of Baikal as been sent to the Director General of UNESCO Irina Side, and has been signed by more than 15,000 Russians.

It is worth recalling that on the January 13, 2010, Vladimir Putin signed Decree No.1 of the Russian Government, which allowed for the dumping of waste from pulp and paper production directly into Lake Baikal. The decree also allowed for the building of new pulp and paper mills and the burning of hazardous waste on the shores of Lake Baikal.

You can find more information about the environmental risks associated with the BPPM, the social and economic situation in the region, and other information about Lake Baikal at the following sites (All in russian);

visit Baikal Wave

The glass is half full, The paper mill is closed for good!

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The glass is half full – the paper mill is closed for good!

Some good news- depending on how you look at it- comes from the dreadful economy:

By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer Mike Eckel, Associated Press Writer – Fri Mar 13, 11:47 am ET

MOSCOW – For decades, it spewed chemicals and foul effluent into the pristine waters of Lake Baikal in Siberia.

For decades, environmentalists pushed for its closure, calling it a shameful blight on the world’s largest fresh water lake.

Now, 43 years after its construction, the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill is closing for good in a breakthrough for Russia’s environmental movement, which many believe began with the long battle over the factory.

The owner, Kontinental Management, said Friday that the plant, which temporarily halted production in October, will not restart operations, for financial and technological reasons. Shareholders, which include the federal government and the struggling industrial conglomerate Basic Element, will meet in coming weeks to decide exactly what to do with it, the company said.

“Unfortunately, time is already up for the (factory) and the plant will be never be able to resume production,” the company said in a statement posted on its Web site.

“It’s good news, of course, though it wasn’t completely unexpected,” said Marina Rikhvanova, a veteran activist who heads the environmental group, Baikal Wave. Continue reading