This blog supports and follows the work of Baikal Environmental Wave, an NGO based in Irkutsk, Siberia. Baikal Wave have been working to save Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake in the world, since 1990. See our recent posts for updates on their work.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

March and rally scheduled to take place in Irkutsk in defence of Baikal, Utrish and Khimki

On the 6th November in Irkutsk at 14:00 , a march and demonstration will take place as part of the nation-wide campaign ‘for Baikal, for Utrish, and for Khimki Forest! For our nature!’. The event was co-ordinated with the agreement of the city administration on the 26th October 2010. The route of the march has been shortened as a result of police demands to exclude Ulitskogo street.

Participants will assemble at the intersection of Karl Marx street and proletskoi street at 14:00. They will then procede towards the square in front of the city’s circus, where the rally will be held until 16:00. As well as addressing national issues, participants at the event will raise local environmental problems.

The event is being organised by the ‘Baikal movement’ and ‘Baikal Environmental Wave’.

Similar events have already taken place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Anapа (Krasnodar region) and other cities. This wave of demonstrations is related to the fact that, despite the rhetoric of the authorities on environmental modernization, beaurocrats at all levels have allied themselves with corrupt businesses that are continuing to destroy the most valuable parts of Russia's nature. A number of organizations have joined forces to hold these demonstrations and rallies. These include the following; The Baikal Movement, Baikal Environmental Wave, Greenpeace Russia, Northern Caucusus Environmental Watch, The 'We will save Utrish' movement, The movement to defend Khimki Forest, The Social-ecological Union and the environmental rights centre 'Belona'.


Decree № 1 from 13.01.2010 has allowed for the reopening of the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill, the main polluter of Lake Baikal. Conducted audits have shown that the plant dumps illegal hazardous substances (including organochlorines) into the lake. Because of obsolete equipment used by the Mill, accident are inevitable and people are likely to die. Nevertheless, the plant's work continues.


According to Govenment decree № 1436-r dated 2nd September 2010 to establish a nature reserve 'Utrish', the most valuable coastal areas of ancient forest can be withdrawn from the territory of the reserve and will lose its status as a regional nature reserve. This will allow for the implementation of plans to build a luxury sports and fitness complex in the area, and for the construction of a network of road which will penetrate the forest. The death of the unique landscape is inevitable.


Plans are afoot to build a toll-highway from Moscow to St. Petersburg, which will run through through the center of a unique forest close to Moscow, despite the fact that there are several other options. Construction of the road would destroy the forest as a single entity, and will dramatically worsen the living conditions in Khimki city area.

We demand the following;

+ that an immediate independent review is undertaken of the technological condition of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, and that steps are taken to safetly close the plant, in the process creating in alternative jobs.

+ the reversal the Government Decree № 1 dated January 13, 2010.

-to abandon all plans for the construction of recreational facilities and infrastructure in the reserve "Greater Utrish".

-The inclusion of coastal areas within the confines of the new nature reserve.

_the preservation of Khimki forest, and the consideration of building the road to bypass the Khimki woods.

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