A lake in Siberia has become a popular site for Instagram-worthy snaps, but the owner has issued a warning that it’s not the “Mauritius of the north” as local signs suggest. It’s actually a chemical dump.
In a public post, the Siberian Generating Company acknowledged the turquoise body of water next to the Novosibirsk CHP-5 coal plant has become a “star of social networks”, but said it was not a lake for swimming.
The dump is not “poisonous”, the company said, reportedly evident because the plants do not die there. But it’s “highly alkaline”, which can cause problems for people who come into contact with it.
The turquoise colour is not because it’s a pristine paradise, but because calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it.
The manmade lake stores waste ashes produced by burning at a nearby coal plant. This ash is mixed with water and enters the lake through pipes.
The warning comes after hundreds of Instagram users have used the beauty spot as a background – in everything from wedding photos to fashion shoots.
Some people have even been in the water on paddle-boards and inflatables.
After being in the water, one Instagram user, @tweezer_nsk, wrote: “The next morning my feet are slightly turned red and itched for two days. Water tastes slightly sour, similar to chalk.”
The company confirmed people may have a reaction if their skin comes into contact with the water, but said the radiation level is normal. “Two independent laboratories concluded this,” it added.
This isn’t the first time travellers have gone to extreme lengths to get Insta-worthy pictures: reports from a temple in Bali show people are faking landmarks to get the Insta-perfect shot.
The Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple known colloquially as the ‘gates of heaven’ is a Hindu temple in Karangasem. Photos on Instagram show the stone gateway reflected in the pool in front of it.
But in reality, the crystal clear pool of water does not exist.