"We request those chasing selfies don't fall in the ash dump"
July 11, 2019 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Siberian Maldives’ is actually a toxic dump, Instagrammers warned.

An aerial photo of the lake uploaded to VK by the Siberian Generating Company shows the coal-fired power plant in the distance.
posted by peeedro (46 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kids of today, you have Photoshop! Go to local pond, take pics, use Photoshop or Lightroom or gimp to create a blue lake. Remove location data from photo. Tell everyone it's a secret spot.
posted by vespabelle at 7:36 AM on July 11 [12 favorites]


If you look at that picture of the bride and groom on that Guardian article, notice the creepy white chalky color at the edges of the blue water, that is a tell-tale sign of some major ash pollution.

Pristine-looking clear water happens in places where very little actually lives. Beautiful stretches of clear ocean are actually deserts. Those naturally happen in plenty of places, very unnaturally in others. Guess which scenario prevails in Novosibirsk.
posted by tclark at 7:37 AM on July 11 [16 favorites]


This feels like a metaphor for an awful lot of things lately.
posted by Slinga at 7:43 AM on July 11 [24 favorites]


Hey, simulation writers? We really need to stop having this conversation, but it keeps cropping up: the impact of a given work of art suffers when the themes and presentation are too explicit. Idioms like hamfisted, or too on the nose apply to things like this, where Instagram popularity is presented as a literal toxic ash dump. It's okay to write things more subtly than this!
posted by Drastic at 7:44 AM on July 11 [42 favorites]


Eh, I have played in some gnarly quarries and along the edges of some really gross sites in my time, and I was hardly the only person there. We can judge folks because there's now a public record of it but humans being around human-caused grossness, and being able to see beauty in badly damaged areas, is hardly new.

I won't argue that it was healthy or good for me, but , like, I can get a good dose of microplastics just as easily on a beautiful Hawaiian beach, so...
posted by DSime at 7:47 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I love the immediate and careful assurance that there are normal levels of radiation
posted by poffin boffin at 7:57 AM on July 11 [20 favorites]


From the Washington Post article on the topic:

“In its June statement, the power plant company said that two independent laboratories confirmed the ash dump isn’t poisonous and the radiation hue there is fine.”

(On preview poffin boffin beat me to it)
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:59 AM on July 11


pernicious nonsense
posted by flabdablet at 8:06 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


We can judge folks because there's now a public record of it but humans being around human-caused grossness, and being able to see beauty in badly damaged areas, is hardly new.

This made me automatically think of the nickel tailings ponds in Sudbury, Ontario (Google satellite view), which are oddly stunning in these Edward Burtynsky photos. You want metal oxides? They got metal oxides.

Also, this image of a phosphor tailings pond in Lakeland, Fla. is quite something to look when its exhibited full size.

the radiation hue there is fine

I mean, it's an ash dump for a coal-fired plant, which brings with it its own set of contamination problems, but it's no Lake Karachay.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:08 AM on July 11 [8 favorites]


This feels like a metaphor for an awful lot of things lately.

It reminded me of those golfers playing on, while a forest fire rages in the background.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:23 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


One post suggested that so many tourists had begun visiting the site that local thieves had started breaking into cars while visitors took photographs.

At least these geniuses are contributing to the local economy.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:26 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


It reminded me of those golfers playing on, while a forest fire rages in the background.

Or the guy mowing his lawn while "keeping an eye" on the tornado.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:31 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I guess it would be rather ghoulish to admit that this would be a kind of Darwinism that I would get behind....
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:42 AM on July 11


Here's what the place looks like from a satellite.
posted by anem0ne at 8:49 AM on July 11


zooming in real close to look for morons
posted by poffin boffin at 8:52 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Mowing Tornado Man is legit. Source: Midwesterner. Who among us has not mowed with a big red Doppler blob apprpaching?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:59 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]




I love the immediate and careful assurance that there are normal levels of radiation

Is there where we plug HBO's Chernobyl? Because if you haven't had the chance to see that yet. Try. It's worth your time.
posted by Fizz at 9:06 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: zooming in real close to look for morons
posted by Fizz at 9:07 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]




I love the immediate and careful assurance that there are normal levels of radiation

3.6 roentgen. Not great, not terrible.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:08 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


I'm struck by how bleak the landscape is in the unstaged photos. The lake is very blue, but otherwise it's not very picturesque. The banks one one side are denuded, it's got industrial outbuildings and trash, etc. The instagram photos have very carefully picked views.

It's like all those "instagram vs. reality" series, but with toxic waste.

I really do not understand instagram influencer culture. I mean, I actually understand the influencers more - fame and money is an old motivation. I do not understand the audience for what they make, though.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:22 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


Is there where we plug HBO's Chernobyl? Because if you haven't had the chance to see that yet. Try. It's worth your time

Top posts #chernobylexclusionzone
posted by thivaia at 9:26 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


This is a US equivalent, at the John Amos Power Plant in WV, and not nearly as striking. And it's got a double layer of barbed-wire fence around it, judging by Street View, so probably not a good place for wedding pictures.

I'm curious why the Russian pond is so brightly colored, and if it's because they're burning lignite instead of real bituminous coal or what. I can imagine lignite must produce a fantastic amount of ash.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:27 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


This is the US equivalent: The Cautionary Tale of the Largest Coal Ash Waste Site in the US (with an amazing google earth timelapse).
posted by peeedro at 9:32 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I just went down a rabbit hole of exploring Novosibirsk on Streetview. Highly recommend.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:39 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I was just reminded of the folks who got busted growing pot in one of the Superfund sites in my hometown.

Yes, "one of." Jersey represent!
posted by backseatpilot at 9:39 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


Or the guy mowing his lawn while "keeping an eye" on the tornado.

Three Hills? That little town once had Canada's largest religious auditorium, since demolished. Not by a tornado, though.
posted by clawsoon at 9:39 AM on July 11




backseatpilot I grew up in the seemingly idyllic Ringwood, which turns out to have its own superfund site too! lotsa fun!
posted by supermedusa at 9:44 AM on July 11


... oddly stunning in these Edward Burtynsky photos.

Apologies for the minor derail, but Burtynsky's photographs are just incredible. If you ever get the chance to see them in a gallery, don't miss it - the sheer scale of them adds so much to the impact. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this photograph of an Indian step-well (or one very like it) on my first visit to the Flowers Gallery on Kingsland Road, London, and I just stood and stared - it was like an imaginary place sprung from the pages of a science fiction novel, or perhaps an Escher print come to life.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:54 AM on July 11 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: It's like all those "instagram vs. reality" series, but with toxic waste.
posted by Vesihiisi at 10:14 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Chumps. I'm having my wedding photos done at the Springfield tire fire.
posted by mhum at 10:14 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Centralia mine fire for your influencing or gtfo
posted by salt grass at 10:17 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Or just skip the lake and fake it with a mirror.
posted by peeedro at 10:21 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


i personally like that big firey hole in turkmenistan
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


“Mr. President, as you will see from this schematic, it’s the Russians’ lack of fence technology which forms the lynchpin of our plan to take down Putin. General, will you get the lights?”
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:37 AM on July 11


The water at the Grand Prismatic spring in Yellowstone is pretty too. There's a Darwin award in it for the first genius that tries to wade in it.
posted by Ber at 10:56 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I've been part of a group scouting for locations to use for an outdoor party in the US southwestern deserts, and more than once I've had to recommend we reject a site and not use it because the ground was, well, a vivid shade of green and it was obviously mining tailings. And that the convenient shallow pit they were considering using as a dance floor was probably an old arsenic leaching pit to process gold ore.

Yeah cool it looks like a moonscape but if we dance and party here and kick up the dust all night people are probably going to get alkali burns and maybe arsenic or lead poisoning or something.
posted by loquacious at 11:05 AM on July 11 [8 favorites]


I do not understand the audience for what they make, though.
I've decided to hate them preemptively.

Kids of today, you have Photoshop
Do they?
posted by aspersioncast at 11:21 AM on July 11


Mowing Tornado Man is legit. Source: Midwesterner. Who among us has not mowed with a big red Doppler blob apprpaching?

You need to get the lawn done before it (and you) get all wet!
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:22 AM on July 11


peeedro: Or just skip the lake and fake it with a mirror.

Good on that enterprising local photographer, tho
posted by clawsoon at 11:48 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


hahah it looks like the pretty blue water geysers at Yellowstone that they tell you to stay the hell out of because not only would you get 3rd degree burns but the bacteria might kill you.

edit: what Ber said
posted by numaner at 3:39 PM on July 11


Little Blue Run Lake in Pennsylvania has a wikipedia entry, this is the best part: Before Little Blue Run Lake was created, the power company told local residents that the project would create a local recreational and boating area.

Good luck with that.
posted by peeedro at 4:17 PM on July 11


Little Blue Lake, Tasmania.

Tripadvisor reviews: "A must see if you're in Tasmania" … "looks even better in person than in pictures" … "simply gorgeous … spectacular colour" … "an absolutely stunning place … So picturesque" … "Very pretty" … "so beautiful" … "a truly magical wonder of nature" … "amazing thing was that everything looked like a scenery but it was real beauty of lake with blue water" … "Even more beautiful in person then any picture I've seen" … "There are signs that suggest against swimming in the lake" … "The sound of the frogs was sweet so the water can't be as bad as the sign says".

It's one of the pits from now-closed Endurance mine near Derby. A 1998 report said:
"The analytical results for all ten ofthe Endurance sampling sites in Table 6.5 exhibited pH below the prescribed ANZECC pH range, most likely facilitating the high levels of aluminium and tin in solution (up to 10000 and 51000 times the ANZECC guideline respectively) .

As found for the Monarch and Star Hill Mines, high levels of copper, iron and lead were found in many samples, specifically the stream and creeks samples El, E2, E7 and E8.
"
And a 1999 study found:
"All ground and surface water samples are acidic, with pH values below the recommended range of 6.5 to 9.0 for drinking water. … Groundwater samples from the tailings are more acidic, with pH values of 2.4 to approximately 5. …Surface waters that are impacted by acid drainage have pH values between 2.7 and 5.5. The impact of acid drainage is clear in Conundrum Creek and Ruby Lagoon where pH values drop from approximately 5 to less than 4 where ground water from the tailings enters the creek and lagoon."
Last time I was there, it was easy to miss the sign explaining what it is, why it's blue, and why you shouldn't the hell go swimming in it…

(It's true about the frogs though. But they're in rain-moist loose surface soil in the forested areas - mostly quartz sand & organic matter - and not actually living in the metal-contaminated acidic lakes…)
posted by Pinback at 6:33 PM on July 11


3.6 roentgen. Not great, not terrible.

So - about 3.6 xray's? (approximate)

... Or 'Banana' for scale?
posted by jkaczor at 6:38 AM on July 12


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