September 26, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Baikal State Natural Biosphere Reserve, which stretches on the lands of the Republic of Buryatia and covers both the mountainous areas of Khamar-Daban and the coast of Great Baikal.

It is no coincidence that the reserve has such a long name. The complexity and acuteness of nature conservation problems in the second half of the twentieth century gradually began to be perceived both by the governments of most states and by international organizations.

The Council of Ministers of the RSFSR in 1969 approved the decision to organize the Baikal State Reserve of the Glavokhota of the RSFSR.

In the early 70s, a number of programs were adopted at the UN level, the participants of which formalized the idea of ​​creating biosphere reserves (reserves) in order to preserve natural ecosystems and the genetic uniqueness of biological species of the animal world, where each is the result of a long-term process evolution. The idea also included carrying out work on the study and monitoring of the natural environment in these and nearby territories, transforming them into certain reference areas of certain natural zones with a thorough study of the possible consequences of human activity. One of the ways to create biosphere reserves involved the use of already existing protected areas.

The Baikalsky Nature Reserve has successfully "fit" into this concept and in 1986 entered the international system of biosphere reserves, becoming a reference territory for assessing the impact of airborne emissions from industry in Southern Siberia on forest ecosystems, in which the protection of undisturbed cedar forests is recognized as the most important task ...

And today the reserve is not only an integral part of the World Network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, but also the Lake Baikal World Natural Heritage Site, and since November 2018 it is a member of the International Alliance of Specially Protected Natural Areas.

Perseverance, work and common sense

The active scientific study of Lake Baikal in the twentieth century quite logically led scientists to the idea of ​​an urgent need to protect the unique nature of the lake and its coast, which is most possible within the framework of identifying the boundaries of the "reserve" for these lands. It is believed that the initiators of this extremely important process were representatives of the Irkutsk State University, who thoroughly knew these places, "walked" during botanical expeditions.

August 1958 was a landmark in drawing attention to such a painful issue. At the conference on the development of the productive forces of Eastern Siberia, held in Irkutsk, at the same time, a number of topics directly related to the fate of Lake Baikal began to be discussed very hotly and actively. Among them - the project of deepening the Angara, which can destructively reduce the level of the lake by 5 meters; construction of pulp and paper production and its negative impact on the nature of the region; and, as a response to the desire to "draw" the resources of Lake Baikal into large-scale economic use, the creation of a reserve within a 15-kilometer coastal zone was also discussed.

And then an open campaign to protect Lake Baikal, completely unusual for a post-Stalinist Soviet country, began. What are the headlines of articles in March, April, May 1959 in the Literaturnaya Gazeta, which appeared after the publication on February 10 of the material by the writer Franz Nikolaevich Taurin “Baikal should be a nature reserve”: “Anticipate all the consequences”, “Save the flora of the Baikal region”, “We ask make Lake Baikal a nature reserve "...

Signers deserve special attention: academicians, professors, writers.

... And the reaction of the authorities, which five years ago could not have been imagined: an official response to the newspaper's editorial office, from which the public learned that "The State Planning Committee of the USSR, having familiarized itself with the speeches of scientists and specialists in Literaturnaya Gazeta," their proposals on the need to protect the fauna and flora of Lake Baikal were correct ”.


Interesting facts about Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the deepest in the world: the bottom is at a depth of 1642 m. Its age is approximately 25 - 35 million years, while most of the lakes live no more than 10 - 15 thousand years. How it was formed has not yet been clarified for certain. The story is the same with its name - there are many versions.

The lake contains about 19% of the world's fresh water reserves, which is approximately 23 thousand km³. More than 300 tributaries flow into it, the largest of them are the Selenga, Upper Angara, Barguzin, Turka, Snezhnaya and Samara, and only the Angara River flows out of it. There are about 2,600 species of aquatic inhabitants in Lake Baikal, half of which are endemic, that is, they live only here. The composition of its water is very close to distilled water, which is unique!

Lake Baikal - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Baikal is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 1999, the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences drew attention to the ecological catastrophe of Lake Baikal, the result of its activities, jointly with the government of the Russian Federation, was the Federal Law "On the Protection of Lake Baikal". Within the framework of the law, a special regime of economic activity around the lake, the boundaries of the fish protection zone and the peculiarities of animal protection, bans on chemical and biological pollution of the lake, as well as a ban on any type of activity leading to the rise of water are established.

Sources of pollution of Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal has 3 main and several additional sources of environmental problems. The main ones are hydraulic structures and the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill, located on the shore of the lake, as well as the polluted waters of the Selenga tributary. Additional sources of problems are deforestation, runoff from settlements, illegal discharges of enterprises, waste of fuel from water transport, garbage from neglected tourism.

Pollution of Lake Baikal due to the pulp and paper mill

The Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill began operations in 1966. He provided the entire country with paper products, but the downside of his existence was environmental pollution. For a very long time, the plant took water from Lake Baikal for production needs, and, having used it, poured it back. This attitude led to pollution on a colossal scale! All waste settled to the bottom and destroyed plants, fish and microorganisms. But it was not only the lake that suffered: the forest dried up from the emission of dust and gas. The plant stored its products directly near the lake, and in addition also disposed of waste on the shores. All this was reflected in nature and could not go unnoticed. Therefore, the work of the plant was suspended, but then restarted due to economic needs.

In 2008, a closed water use system was introduced at the plant. This was supposed to solve the main problems, but studies carried out by environmentalists showed that the concentration of dioxins in the water near the plant was 40-50 times higher. In 2013, by order of the government of the Russian Federation, the plant was again stopped, but not liquidated. And who knows, if the economic necessity will outweigh the scales in the direction of its launch after a while.

Pollution of Lake Baikal due to the Selenga River

The main and largest tributary of Lake Baikal is the Selenga River. With its waters, a lot of waste is discharged into the lake, discharged upstream. It is about 30 km³ of water per year, polluted by such large cities as Ulan Bator, Ulan-Ude, Selenginsk, Kabansk and many others. Along the river bed, there are enterprises for the extraction of gold and other minerals, as well as factories and plants. At most enterprises, treatment facilities are outdated and cannot cope with their task for a long time, therefore, various chemicals and oil products get into the water. Also along the river there are agricultural lands, where mineral fertilizers and pesticides are used, which get into the channel, and then into the lake.

The best excursions in the city

City architecture, history of brave pioneers, city life and development in the 19th century

Auto - walking tour of the most ancient, interesting and significant places of the city

Big tour of all significant places of the city, as well as natural objects of the Baikal region

Walk along the Circum-Baikal Railway with a visit to the observation decks at Lake Baikal

Visiting unique and unusual rocks in the thick of the taiga forest

A walk with a story about the influence of the Decembrists on Siberian society, its culture and development

All the most interesting places to explore the Siberian city and its cultural heritage

The Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, with the opportunity to learn more about Lake Baikal

Amazing views of dozens of islands of Lake Baikal and a visit to the "wild" island of Ogoy

Natural species of Siberia and Mongolia, unique lakes, thermal springs and the way of life of the Mongols

Tour across the territory of Baikal and the Taiga steppe, where you can find ancient rock paintings

Second Baikal International Environmental Water Forum September 13-14, 2018, Irkutsk

The Baikal Environmental Water Forum is intended to support the state strategy aimed at improving the environmental situation in Russia. Particular attention will be paid to such an aspect as involving young people in environmental protection and changing their attitude towards nature problems to a more conscious one.

The Second Baikal International Ecological Water Forum (BMEWF) will be held in Irkutsk from September 20 to 21, but preparations for it are already in full swing. Thus, the meeting of the Working Group on the organization and preparation for the Forum was attended by organizers, experts, leaders and representatives of the authorities of the Irkutsk region, as well as the scientific community. render completely.

In his opening remarks, the Governor of the Irkutsk Region Sergey Levchenko once again emphasized the importance of the First Forum, during which large-scale tasks were launched - their solution will be aimed at saving and rational use of the water resources of Lake Baikal.

Evgeny Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Irkutsk Region - Head of the Representative Office of the Government of the Irkutsk Region under the Government of the Russian Federation in Moscow, focused the participants' attention on three aspects: the implementation and implementation of the Resolution of the First BMEWF, the role of UNESCO in expanding international cooperation, and on the tasks of the Working Group and the Executive Committee of the BMEVF.

Discussion of the Forum concept, initiated by the Coordination Council, became a key issue at the meeting of the Working Group. The draft concept and architecture of the Forum were presented by the Director of the Coordination Council Tatiana Sadofieva. Thus, the concept lays the foundations for the interdependence of the ecological quality of the aquatic environment and human health. Hence the motto of the future Forum “Baikal - the source of life”. An international competition with the involvement of young scientists will also be held under the same name. The winners will have the opportunity to submit their designs free of charge.

The draft law on the boundaries of Lake Baikal was submitted to the State Duma by the head of the Committee for Natural Resources Nikolai Nikolaev (United Russia), a REGNUM correspondent reports on June 15.

It is proposed to register that the boundaries of the Baikal natural territory and ecological zones - the central ecological zone, buffer ecological zone, ecological zone of atmospheric influence, water protection zone and the boundaries of the fish protection zone are approved by a regulatory legal act of the Government of the Russian Federation.

“The approval of the boundaries specified in the draft law by a regulatory legal act of the government of the Russian Federation will allow, among other things, to carry out the specified decision through holding public discussions regarding the text of the draft resolution,” Nikolayev notes.

The current version of Article 3 of the Federal Law "On the Protection of Lake Baikal" states that these boundaries are approved by the government of the Russian Federation, but there is no form of an act on the approval of boundaries.

The Irkutsk ONF activists consider environmental issues a priority on their regional agenda.

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