UNESCO has made an appeal to the Russian Government to take measures to ensure the protection of Lake Baikal, a World Heritage Site.
On Wednesday, representatives of the coalition 'For Baikal', a union of Russian non-governmental and environmental organizations, delivered an open letter in support of new measures to protect the lake to the headquarters of UNESCO. The letter contained signatures of over 125,000 people from 52 countries.
'UNESCO has grown concerned with the situation surrounding the world heritage site 'Lake Baikal, namely with the decision of the Russian government to allow the waste of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill (BPPM) to pollute the Lake', declared Francesco Bandarin, General secretary of UNESCO at a meeting with coalition representatives. 'UNESCO's convention on the protection of World Cultural and natural heritage sites demands that the factory's work be conducted in a system of closed-water circulation.'
Bandarin promised the coalition that this issue will be discussed as a matter of urgency at the forthcoming forum on Worldwide heritage, which begins in 25 days.
'We will convey our views to the Russian government and hope that Russia will in good faith take measures to prevent the violation of Baikal as a result of pollution from the BPPM.'
As well as the declaration of the coalition, representatives of Greenpeace Russia and WWF Russia handed over to UNESCO documents which prove that the decision on the Paper Mill is inadequate and harms the region.