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Rosprrodnadzor concerned over building-up of Baikal shores

May 03, 2012, 10:57 UTC+3
Lake Baikal has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO
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IRKUTSK, May 3 (Itar-Tass) — Rosprirodnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Resources) is concerned over the uncontrolled building-up of the shore of Lake Baikal. Developers avail themselves of the fact that the boundaries of individual sectors of the Pribaikalsky(Baikal) National Park (PNP) have not been fixed up to now.

Konstantin Gurnovich, head of the Rosprirodnadzor department for the Irkutsk Region, has told Itar-Tass that this refers to PNP territories in Olkhon District (110,000 hectares) and Irkutsk District (2,000 hectares). Those are former agricultural enterprises' lands that were turned over to the PNP by a decision of the Council of Ministers in 1986 without taking them away from economic use, he explained.

"Until the boundaries are fixed, it will be impossible to apply reservation conditions for natural areas of preferential protection (NAPP) to those lands. Moreover, the lack of fixed boundaries provokes an uncontrolled building-up of the bank of the Smaller Sea strait of Baikal with every kind of tourist camps. This makes an additional anthropogenic impact on the unique ecosystem of Lake Baikal," the departmental chief maintains.

"Lake Baikal has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This is why we deemed it necessary to raise this problem at a recent conference in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters," Gurnovich added.

The PNP is a narrow strip of land stretching for about 600 km along the south-western shore of Baikal. Geographically it is divided into five isolated clusters that differ in both natural conditions and the degree of man-induced impact. These are the Baikal circular railway, Olkhin upland, the Primorsky (coastal) mountain range, Olkhon Island, and Baikal mountain range. All constitute a NAPP of Federal jurisdiction.

Baikal is the world's deepest lake (1,642 meters deep) with an area of almost 31,700 square kilometers. Over 336 rivers and streams fall into the lake and only one -- River Angara takes its source from the Lake. Baikal contains one-fifth of the planet's entire amount of fresh water. 

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