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Popular social media site is a toxic dump

Instagrammers are flocking to a lake that's actually a coal plant's run-off.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
July 11, 2019
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boonchai wedmakawand via Getty Images

A lake in Siberia nicknamed the Novosibirsk Maldives is a popular Instagram spot because of the appealing color of the water. It's also close to a Trans-Siberian Railway stop. The turquoise visage has a similar hue to oceans or seas you might see at a tropical paradise resort, albeit in eastern Russia. But the lake is an artificial creation, and the Siberian Generating Company (SGC) has warned people to stay away as it's actually an ash dump for one of its coal plants.

"DO NOT swim in the ash dump. The water is highly alkaline," the company recently wrote on Russian social network VKontakte. "This is because calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. Skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction!"

It added that the bottom of the lake is muddy, so those who do dare to wade in might get stuck and unable to free themselves. The water's pH is above 8, SGC said, though it claimed the water wasn't poisonous. In case the warning wasn't clear enough, the company wrote in all caps, "THEREFORE, WE ARE ASKING -- DON'T GET INTO THE ASH DUMP IN THE PURSUIT OF A SELFIE."

Despite that, some ardent Instagrammers remain undeterred, with some posting photos of themselves floating on inflatable toys and paddling in the toxic water. One even joked that "the water tastes a little sour."

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