Ecological problems of Baikal and ways to solve them | Ecology of Lake Baikal

Baikal is located in the Eastern part of Siberia, is an ancient lake, whose age is approximately 25 million. years. Since the reservoir is very deep, it is a great source of fresh water. Baikal provides 20% of all fresh water reserves on the planet. The lake fills 336 rivers, and the water in it is clean, transparent. Scientists suggest that this lake is a nascent ocean. It is home to over 2.5 thousand. species of flora and fauna, of which 2/3 are not found anywhere else.

Baikal water pollution

The largest tributary of the lake is the Selenga River. However, its waters not only fill Baikal, but also pollute it. Metallurgical enterprises regularly dump waste and industrial water into the river, which in turn pollutes the lake. The greatest harm to the Selenga is caused by enterprises located in the territory of Buryatia, as well as domestic wastewater.

Not far from Lake Baikal there is a pulp and cardboard plant, which caused the most damage to the lake’s ecosystem. The leaders of this enterprise said that they stopped polluting local water bodies, but emissions into the atmosphere did not stop, which later ends up in the Selenga and Baikal.

As far as agriculture is concerned, agrochemicals used to fertilize nearby fields are washed into the river. Animal and crop waste is also regularly dumped into the Selenga. This leads to the death of river animals and pollution of lake waters.

Impact of the Irkutsk HPP

In 1950, a hydroelectric power plant was founded in Irkutsk, as a result of which the waters of Lake Baikal rose by about a meter. These changes have negatively affected the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the lake. Water changes have negatively affected the spawning grounds of fish, some species are crowding out others. Changes in the level of water masses contribute to the destruction of the shores of the lake.

As for nearby settlements, their inhabitants produce a huge amount of garbage every day, which harms the environment as a whole. Wastewater pollutes the river system and Baikal. Quite often, cleaning filters are not used when draining water. The same applies to the discharge of industrial waters.

Thus, Baikal is a miracle of nature that stores huge water resources. Anthropogenic activity gradually leads to a disaster, as a result of which the reservoir may cease to exist if the negative factors of the lake pollution are not eliminated.

Baikal pollution by river waters

The largest river flowing into Lake Baikal is the Selenga. It brings about 30 cubic kilometers of water to the lake every year. The problem is that domestic and industrial waste is discharged into the Selenga, so its water quality leaves much to be desired. The river water is very polluted. Polluted Selenga water enters the lake and worsens its condition. Wastes from metallurgical and construction enterprises, leather processing and mining are dumped into Baikal. Oil products, agrochemicals and various agricultural fertilizers enter the water.

The lake is negatively impacted by the Chikoy and Khilok rivers. They, in turn, are excessively polluted by metallurgical and woodworking enterprises of nearby regions. Every year, about 20 million. cubic meters of waste water.

The sources of pollution should also include enterprises operating in the Republic of Buryatia. Industrial centers mercilessly worsen the state of waters, dumping harmful chemical elements obtained in the production process. The work of treatment facilities allows you to clean only 35% of toxins from the total. For example, the concentration of phenol is 8 times higher than the permissible norm. As a result of the research, it was found that substances such as copper ions, nitrates, zinc, phosphorus, oil products and others enter the Selenga River in large quantities.

Air emissions over Baikal

There are many enterprises in the Baikal area that emit greenhouse gases and harmful compounds that pollute the air. In the future, they, together with oxygen molecules, enter the water, polluting it, and also fall out along with precipitation. There are mountains near the lake. They do not allow emissions to dissipate, but accumulate over the water area, having a negative impact on the environment.

Around the lake there is a huge number of settlements that pollute the air space. Most of the emissions end up in the waters of Lake Baikal. In addition, due to the specific wind rose, the area is predisposed to the northwest wind, as a result, the air is polluted from the Irkutsk-Cheremkhovo industrial hub located in the Angara valley.

There is also an increase in air pollution during certain periods of the year. For example, in early winter the wind is not too strong, which contributes to a favorable ecological situation in the region, but in spring there is an increase in air flow, as a result of which all emissions are sent to Baikal. The southern part of the lake is considered the most polluted. Here you can find elements such as nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, various particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.

Pollution of Lake Baikal with domestic wastewater

At least 80 thousand people live in the cities and villages adjacent to Baikal. As a result of their living and productive activities, garbage and various wastes accumulate. This is how utilities carry out effluents to local water bodies. Cleaning of household waste is extremely unsatisfactory, in some cases it is completely absent.

Various ships, moving along the river routes of the area, discharge dirty water, therefore, various pollution enters the reservoirs, including oil products. On average, every year the lake is polluted with 160 tons of oil products, which worsen the condition of Baikal waters. In order to improve the catastrophic situation with ships, the government has established a rule according to which each facility must have a contract for the delivery of bilge water. The latter must be cleaned by special facilities. Discharge of water into the lake is strictly prohibited.

No less influence on the state of the waters of the lake is exerted by tourists who neglect the natural attractions of the region. Due to the fact that there is practically no system for collecting the removal and processing of household waste, the situation is getting worse every year.

In order to improve the ecology of Lake Baikal, a special ship “Samotlor” operates, which collects waste throughout the reservoir. However, at the moment there is not enough funding for the cleaning barges of this type to function. If a more intensive solution of Baikal’s environmental problems is not started in the near future, the lake’s ecosystem may collapse, which will lead to irreversible negative consequences.

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