Baikal for the first time is offered a glassof water straight from the lake. At the Baikal restaurant, lake water is served as a local speciality.
Visitors can look down through water 70 feet deep and count the stones on the bottom. The water’s mineral content is very low. In this crystal-clear water some 150 types of plants and fish live – many of them found nowhere else in the world.
There have been many discussions on lake Baikal in the USSR. Some scientists have demanded that Baikal – 6,360 feet deep – should be preserved completely as it is as a wonder of nature.
Others wanted to use this giant reservoir – it contains one fifth of the world’s resources of fresh water – for economic purposes. The arguments still go on, and there are many points of detail still in dispute. But the Baikal timber processing plant has proved that a factory can return its “waste” water to the lake quite pure, if it uses modern filtering techniques.
The Academy of Sciences and the State Planning Committee have prepared a plan to make the southern shore of Baikal into a natural park, with camps and tourist centers for 25,000 guests within the next few years.