Russia shuts mill that polluted Baikal

Environmentalists helped to close a paper and pulp mill that for over 40 years allegedly discharged thousands of tonnes of dioxin and other pollutants into Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, the Guardian reported.


The Baikalsk paper factory, which is controlled by the billionaire Oleg Deripaska, announced it was halting production and laying off 1,400 workers.


Activists helped force the mill to transfer to a "closed-water" system in September. This change helped cut waste discharge into the lake and meant the plant could no longer produce bleached pulp, its most profitable export. This, combined with the global economic downturn, led to the factory’s demise.


Roman Vazhenkov, head of Greenpeace Russia’s Baikal programme, said the closure was a "historic moment".


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