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June, 05, 2017

How to Support Lake Baikal: Instructions for Those Who Care

The 5th of June is the World Environment Day. Various campaigns and events symbolizing the unity of man with nature will be held in each country today. But you should take care of the environment not only on holidays.

Everyone speaks about the increasing threat to Baikal. Limnologists, oceanologists, environmentalists - everyone is sounding the alarm, predicting the inevitable death of the Sacred Lake, unless urgent measures are taken. The mass media are full of headlines about the approaching catastrophe and call everyone to render all possible assistance in saving the national treasure.

Several federal programs for the protection of Lake Baikal have been developed and launched for the moment. Their budget is estimated in billions, however, this does not solve the problem for some reason.

It’s high time we remembered the well-known saying: “It’s not clean where you tidy up, but it’s clean where you do not litter”. So it is needed to remove not the symptoms, but to cure the disease itself. That is why it is so important that every resident or guest of the Baikal region understands: the state of the local ecosystem depends namely on him/her.

Indeed, it is not necessary to wait for mass volunteer campaigns to throw a plastic bottle into a litter bin.

We offer a short list of instructions for those who care about the fate of the Siberian Pearl:

Clean up your own garbage and urge others to do the same 

This may seem the simplest and most obvious requirement. However, due to the neglect of such an elementary rule, Baikal has so many problems. Every time you go out on a picnic, take a couple of garbage bags with you. Tidy up all the garbage after yourself and don’t be lazy to pick up a wrapper or an ice cream packing forgotten by others.

If you do not have enough reasons for this kind of behavior, just think about the consequences. A plastic bottle left on the shore is decomposed during hundreds of years. Broken glass in the forest is usually the main cause of forest fires that do harm to the nature of the Baikal region so often. Degradable garbage left on the shore gives food to microorganisms which are dangerous not only for the flora and fauna of Lake Baikal, but for each of us.

Use phosphate-free detergents

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Everyone has heard about the catastrophic expansion of the spirogyra algae in Lake Baikal - the news has been spread far beyond the Russian Federation. At the same time, few people know the reason for these circumstances. One of the main factors in the spreading of the filamentous algae is the saturation of the water area with nitrogen and phosphorus that have been formed as a result of decomposition of consumer waste.

If you think that the flows of dirty waters from health resorts, enterprises or other commercial establishments are to blame, then you are only partially right, because huge damage to Baikal is caused by the waste from local private farms.

Of course, it would be perfect to necessarily completely exclude the pollution of the lake by the man, but in reality accomplishing this is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, if the residents of the coast stop using synthetic powders and detergents, the damage to the environment will be significantly reduced.

The products of the domestic manufacturers include many effective organic products that are affordable and do not harm either to the man or to the nature. So before you buy another pack of cheap chemical detergents, please think about a natural and safe alternative.

Install waste treatment facilities

This recommendation applies mainly to the owners of tourist recreation centres and other infrastructure facilities. But this proposition wouldn’t go amiss also for the owners of private houses. Modern varieties of septic tanks are quite affordable, so a refusal to install or update waste treatment facilities because of their high cost is just an excuse. It is quite realistic to create such a waste treatment system that works on the basis of the bacteria. In this case you don’t even have to pay for electricity, and the benefit for Baikal will be hard to overestimate.

Participate in volunteer programs

More than two dozen volunteer events on preservation of the nature of Lake Baikal are planned in the summer and autumn of this year. Participants will clear the territory of garbage, construct and restore ecological trails, equip tourist recreation areas. Volunteers will engage in improvement of protected areas, installation of information boards. In addition to work, volunteers will participate in exciting trips to picturesque places of Baikal, interesting excursions to museums and nature reserves. Anyone can join the activities, it is enough to fill in an application on the website of volunteer programs or write an e-mail to the organizers of events.

The “Key to Baikal” website already wrote about the forthcoming volunteer programs of the summer-autumn season of 2017.

 Stay up-to-date, learn new information

In order to remove the trash from the territory, first and foremost, it is necessary to remove trash from people’s heads. If a person is informed about the problems of Baikal and threats to the lake, he/she seeks for real ways to remedy the situation and will not remain indifferent.

While you admire the unique beauty of the endless expanses of the Holy Sea, do not forget about the reverse side of the coin. In order to find out what current state of Baikal is and get acquainted with the real proposals for its salvation, it’s enough just to go on the Internet. Do not turn a blind eye to the current problems, and if for some reason you cannot help the defenders of Lake Baikal, please, at least do not aggravate the situation. By observing the simple above-mentioned rules you will already contribute to the preservation of life of the national heritage - the Great Baikal Lake.

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