Baikal natural resources are familiar to the whole world. But today the legendary repository of pure fresh water is under threat. The pollution of Lake Baikal is increasing and the disastrous situation can be stopped only by joint efforts of citizens and the state.
The financial attractiveness of the tourist infrastructure leads to the development of this industry, which negatively affects the nature of the Baikal region. The flow of tourists does not decrease all year round due to the increase in the length of the season due to winter vacations. This leads to the construction of new hotels, sanatoriums, tourist centers, including those unlicensed for some types of work. Illegal abstraction and discharge of untreated sewage water causes serious damage to the ecosystem.
To a large extent, the basin of Lake Baikal is damaged by industrial and domestic wastewater. Cleaning filters at enterprises are outdated or not, which is a gross violation of environmental legislation. The danger for the region is posed by pesticides and agricultural pesticides, the utilization technology of which is absent.
The Russian project “Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean” in the initial sketches was located within the coastal zone. According to the calculations of scientists with such a trajectory, there would be inevitable consequences for the lake. Environmentalists and the public have got the authorities to replace the route for the oil pipeline. Now the oil pipeline runs 350-400 km from the coast.
Over the years, the lack of monitoring of the lake has led to a threatening state of the site. The irrational use of the resources of Lake Baikal by humans has endangered biodiversity.
The ecosystem change is caused by the following factors:
The Selenga River basin increases the anthropogenic load on the lake. Industrial complexes of metallurgy, mining operations pour up to 80% of pollutants into water. As a result, the main inflow brings to the lake a lot of harmful ingredients (oil products, phenols, heavy metal compounds).
The danger is also seen from the side of the Mongolian mining industries, which wash metal in the tributaries of the Selenga. The frequent death of livestock in Mongolia from infectious diseases threatens to become a source of bacterial pollution of the lake.
Lake Baikal’s problems are also associated with the unorganized flow of domestic wastewater. For example, the discharge of enterprises and settlements led to persistent pollution of the Barguzin River. The upper Angara is polluted by sewage from the Uoyan settlement. Metallurgical and woodworking plants located on the Chikoy and Khilok rivers discharge 20 million cubic meters per year.
The degree of pollution of Lake Baikal has not yet received a critical character. The situation can be improved by a set of the following measures: