Russian Security Council: many treatment facilities at Lake Baikal are outdated

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Particular danger to the lake ecosystem is the absence of sewerage systems and domestic waste water treatment in many localities, reports the press service of the Russian Security Council.

The Security Council Interdepartmental Commission of the Russian Federation has developed for the government and the RAS a number of additional measures aimed at ensuring the environmental safety of Lake Baikal, has informed the press service on Friday.

The press service noted that a particular danger to the ecosystem of the lake is the absence of sewerage systems and domestic waste water treatment in many localities. Moreover, the majority of treatment facilities are outdated and do not provide all the treatment stages. In addition, the negative influence has the modern complex hydrological situation in the Baikal region, which leads to a significant fall in the water level of Lake Baikal.

According to the data on April 1, the water level in Lake Baikal continues to fall due to water shortage; in recent days it has fallen to the level of 455.91 meters, which is 9 centimeters below the minimum mark. At present, the Baikal’s critical water levels are limited by Decree No.234 (dated 26 March 2001). The document set the minimum water level (456.0 m) and the maximum one (457.0 m).

“The Interdepartmental Commission addressed several recommendations to the Government of the Russian Federation, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the interested authorities of the executive power of the Republic of Buryatia, the Irkutsk Region and the Zabaikalsky Region, aimed at taking additional measures to ensure environmental safety in the Baikal natural territory and to preserve the lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site,” says the statement.

The Baikal is one of the greatest lakes on the planet; it’s the lake of “superlatives”: it’s the deepest lake (1,637 m), the oldest one (25 million years), it is a freshwater reservoir with the most diverse flora and fauna.

The lake has a unique supply of fresh water in terms of its volume and quality (23.6 thousand cubic kilometers which is more than 20% of the world’s freshwater resources). In 1996 the lake was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Text and pictures by RIA Novosti