Popular social media site is a toxic dump

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2019

For aspiring influencers or regular vacationers looking for a similarly breathtaking and (and safe) vista, there are plenty of places around the world with bright blue water to visit.

Unfortunately, the warnings seem only to have attracted more visitors and even a fan account called Novosibirsk Maldives that has collected almost 200 posts from the ash dump's beguiling waters. Although it looks clean and pristine, the man-made lake is toxic and potentially unsafe.

Getting the flawless shot for the 'gram can be hard.

It's a highly toxic artificial pond used to dump ash from a nearby coal plant, and, warns the company that runs the plant, unsafe for swimming in. As the site became increasingly popular as an Instagram backdrop, the operator, Siberian Generating Company, was forced to issue a statement warning people to avoid, you know, touching the water.

"Getting out of the reservoir alone is nearly impossible", the company wrote on VKontakte, a Russian social media network.

The site has continued to draw Instagrammers despite the warning.

According to the Moscow Times, "this lake is not a natural miracle at all, but an ash dump into which CHPP-5 [the coal plant] is dumping waste". The uniquely turquoise shade comes not from light or water quality, but a combination of metal oxides and calcium salts that could cause a reaction on contact with skin. Its water has high alkaline environment. According to a report in The New York Times, a beautifully turquoise bit of water near the town of Novosibirsk has attracted hundreds of people intent on posing in front of what has recently been dubbed the "Maldives of Novosibirsk". The post further which was further written in caps read, "THEREFORE, WE ARE REQUESTING, DON'T GET INTO THE ASH DUMP TO TAKE A SELFIE!"

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. These things don't make the lake radioactive or poisonous, but they do make the water alkaline, with a pH over 8, and could cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

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