Russia faces protests over factory on shores of lake Baikal

MOSCOW — Russia's prime minister vowed Tuesday to audit a prospective water bottling plant on the shores of the world's deepest freshwater lake, a listed world heritage site.

Asked by a member of a sports team in Siberia for his comment, Dmitry Medvedev told Russian news agencies that he had received multiple complaints and that he would order officials to check if the plant on the shores of lake Baikal in eastern Siberia complies with environmental standards.

He added, however, that he was not ready to say yet "if the plant is bad or good."

Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It has a special microclimate that accommodates the migration of many different types of birds.

Reports of the construction of the bottling plant in the Siberian village of Kultuk have angered local residents, with more than 880,000 people signing an online petition, urging authorities to scrap the construction plans. One of the reasons for the resentment is the fact that most of the water is going to be exported to neighboring China and South Korea.

Local officials argue that the project is not damaging to the environment and will provide much-needed jobs.

The campaign to stop the construction has also been backed by an unlikely activist — the flamboyant Russian celebrity stylist Sergei Zverev who staged a picket outside the Kremlin last week, wearing a gold crown and holding a poster saying "I'm against the construction of a plant on Baikal."

Zverev, who is a Baikal native, said Monday that he's been summoned to the police to face potential charges of staging an unsanctioned protest over his picket.

There are no major factories or industrial production near Baikal, which holds around 20 percent of the world's freshwater reserves. In an environmental scandal, a major paper mill there was shut down in 2013 following intense pressure from activists.

Must Read

Rio authorities step up security after bus windows shattered

Aug 10, 2016

Military police in Rio de Janeiro are stepping up security at the Olympics after a bus carrying journalists had two of its windows shattered by a projectile and a bullet flew into the stables of the equestrian venue

RNC hires strategists to help woo African-American voters

Aug 9, 2016

The Republican National Committee has hired three new strategists to help increase its outreach to black voters, including Ashley D. Bell as its new senior strategist and national director of African-American engagement

Florida officials go into damage-control mode over Zika

Aug 6, 2016

Worried about Florida's all-important tourism industry, state officials are going into damage-control mode over Zika

People also read these

TV executive predicts 500-show bubble destined to deflate

Aug 9, 2016

Television viewers know there's a mind-boggling array of shows to attempt to watch, but FX Networks chief executive John Landgraf predicts that change is coming

Turkish, Russian officials to discuss solution for Syria

Aug 10, 2016

Turkey's foreign minister says Turkish foreign ministry, military and intelligence officials will travel to Russia for discussions on finding a solution to the Syria conflict

House Speaker Paul Ryan wins GOP nomination to run again

Aug 10, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan has defeated a longshot Republican primary challenger who had been praised by Donald Trump

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH