Russia – Regional
Lake Baikal Project
Lake Baikal is one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes (with a surface area of 3.1 million ha), and contains 20% of the Earth’s fresh surface water. On the whole it remains relatively clean (due to mixing and the sheer volume of the lake); however, local contamination and eutrophication is increasing. Water quality risks from land-based activities, including point and diffuse sources of pollution, pose an increasing threat to the Baikal aquatic ecosystem.
This project focused on the threats to Baikal’s water resources from unregulated tourism and municipal wastes. Local coastal communities and tourists are among the main direct users of the Baikal freshwater resources. A lack of awareness, knowledge and financing at the local level in relation to sustainable water use has put serious pressure on the lake. Unregulated tourism is also a growing threat, accompanied by increasing coastal degradation due to poorly treated sewage, erosion and solid waste from under-regulated tourist developments.
What is the objective?
The project is contributing to preserving Lake Baikal’s freshwater resources and reducing growing pressures from tourism. The project:
– Strengthens the knowledge and capacity of the local population, local tourist organizations and the general public.
– Demonstrates responsible tourism practices in order to achieve the conservation of Lake Baikal’s freshwater resources and its development as a sustainable tourism destination.
While building on existing local initiatives, the project develops and supports the implementation of pilot projects on ecotourism and agrotourism. The project also initiates pilot projects aimed at the improvement of water quality and waste management.
Another important goal of this project is to increase awareness of the indispensible value of clean drinking water.