Tahoe’s sister city faces dire lake pollution | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe’s sister city faces dire lake pollution

Imagine if officials determined casinos and ski resorts around the basin were huge contributors to the declining water clarity and quality of Lake Tahoe.

Imagine if the federal government ordered them shut down.

The economy would be decimated; thousands of jobs would be lost.

That is the type of situation Baikalsk, Russia, is in. Except in this case, it isn’t numerous businesses causing pollution problems.

It’s just one.

The Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill essentially supports the 17,000-resident city. However, it is a major polluter of Lake Baikal, volumetrically the largest lake in the world. The lake has been classified as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Environmental Science and Cultural Organization, and that agency has recommended the closure of the mill. The Russian government has ordered it shut down.

However, that cannot realistically happen – not yet, not until other environmentally friendly businesses can support the economy.

That situation is what brought four Baikalsk resi-

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