Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Siberians flock to toxic lake for 'Maldives' selfies

Siberians flock to toxic lake for 'Maldives' selfies

The bright blue waters of the artificial pond are actually down to the unsafe calcium salts and other metal oxides which have been dumped in it from the coal-burning plant.

"DO NOT swim in the ash dump".

"In the last week, our ash dump of the Novosibirsk TEZ-5 has become the star of social networks", it said. The crisp turquoise waters provided a ideal backdrop for photo shoots, selfies, and Instagram posts. There's just one small problem: It's not a pristine wilderness, but a man-made toxic waste dump.

The bottom of the dump is very muddy, the company warned, adding that getting out of the reservoir alone is almost impossible.

The lengthy advisory, however, appears to have done little to quell the flow of visitors, marking the latest example of the lengths to which people will go for the ideal Instagram photo.

The location has become such a popular location on social media that it has its own Instagram account, The Moscow Times said, which is filled with images of people posing near the radiant water.


One post suggested that so many tourists had begun visiting the site that local thieves had started breaking into cars while visitors took photographs.

Like Zheleznova, most people respected the warnings, choosing to take their pictures on shore. He insisted the water isn't unsafe, but "the next morning, my legs were slightly red and itchy", Cherenkov said according to a translation. (We're sure a misguided comparison or two will pop up on Twitter soon.) But putting your delicate human body into the water isn't a good idea, either.

"The dump is NOT poisonous: blue gulls do not fly there, and plants do not die". It is the largest of its kind in Siberia, according to the Guardian. Because of this, contact with skin can cause an allergic reaction.

Another wrote that the power station's management had begun closing roads to the ash dump because of the "big flow of people from Novosibirsk" to the site.

In an aerial photo of the lake uploaded to Russian social media by the company, the power plant's towering red-and-white-striped smokestacks can be seen in the distance spewing dark smoke into the sky.

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