Travel

The Maldives of Siberia Is Actually a Toxic Lake

Andrew Parker
Nov 28, 2019

Russian Instagrammers who are looking for a worthy picture to upload to have been making their way to a lake that looks just like the Maldives near Novosibirsk, a Siberian city.  The lake has an uncanny similarity to the Maldives, with white sand and perfect turquoise water – however, what’s different is that there’s absolutely nothing natural about the Siberian lake. People have started to refer to it as the ‘Siberian Maldives’ and although it appears to be completely breathtaking, it’s actually completely man-made and is a toxic dump of ashes from a coal plant in the area. The water is reported to get its dreamy blue color from the depth, as well as from the metal oxides and calcium salts that have dissolved in it.

 young woman poses for pictures by a Novosibirsk energy plant's ash dump site - nicknamed the local "Maldives"

Getty Images/AFP/ROSTISLAV NETISOV

While it may seem tempting to go visit, it’s got a pH level of over 8 and is capable of causing allergic reactions to human skin. Nonetheless, despite warnings that have been sent out to go near this site, people continue to come to visit this site, with some even entering the water to pose with inflatable floaties for pictures. Authorities have also revealed that the bottom of the lake is so incredibly muddy, that getting out of the lake is nearly impossible, with a high risk of falling to the ash dump while trying to take a selfie for Instagram. People don’t seem to care about the dangers, valuing a good picture over their health and well being. 

“In the last week, our ash dump has become a celebrity on social networks,” the Siberian Generating Company said last month, warning potential visitors not to drink the water and saying that even “skin contact with the water can lead to an allergic reaction”. One photographer quoted in the Siberian Times described the water as smelling of “laundry detergent”. The water’s pH is higher than 8, the company said.