Success for the Environmental Movement at Lake Baikal (March 2009)
Controversial Paper Mill at Lake Baikal goes out of Business.
Over four decades the cellulose and paper mill BPPM in Baikalsk has discharged its daily wastewater (about 100,000 cubic metres effluent per day) untreated into Lake Baikal putting massive pressure on the shallow southern part of the lake. The cellulose production was admittedly still a lucrative business, but years ago there were plans to modernize the mill and introduce new technical standards for the waste water treatment, but nothing happened, and in 2005 World Bank withdrew its grant commitment worth several millions destined for the modernization of the mill. For many years local and international environmental and conservation organisations have fought hard to close the polluting mill at Lake Baikal if the company continues to violate the environmental regulations.
For the introduction of a closed water cycle purifying and recycling of liquids arising from the manufacturing process, high investments and the installation of water purification plants would have been necessary. In October 2008, the mill was temporarily closed, in May 2009 came the final shutdown. Now, 2,000 people have lost job and income, because the outdated equipment has made the mill unprofitable.
Lake Baikal and its water quality profit from the closing of the business, which was made possible through the untiring efforts of local conservationists and the network Living Lakes - Lake Baikal is a network member since 1999.
Our partners FIRN and GRAN as well as the donors for the Lake Baikal project feel relieved. We mention our long time supporter Ethikbank - an online bank for ethical and ecological investments - in place of all the sponsors that have supported the protection of Lake Baikal.