Pensioner Mikhail Panchak has fished on Lake Baikal in freezing temperatures and biting winds, but this year he’s faced a new obstacle in the form of a black pipe stretching 1,500 feet across the ice.
The pipe is the intake for a factory to bottle water from the world’s largest lake and sell it in China, where Baikal is well-known as a tourist destination.
But while the enterprise has promised to create jobs in the dusty town of Kultuk, more than 800,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the state to stop the construction. A protest is planned for later this month.
Scientists warn that the AquaSib factory could harm the wetlands here and kick off a bottling boom that would deplete…