Siberians flock to toxic lake for 'Maldives' selfies

The Latest Instagram Hotspot Is Actually A Dump For Chemical Waste

Siberians flock to toxic lake for 'Maldives' selfies

A picturesque Siberian lake nicknamed the "Novosibirsk Maldives" has been declared unfit for selfie-takers by a Russian power company, Siberian Generating Company (SGK), which uses the lake as an ash dump for its nearby power station.

Named the Novosibirsk Maldives, the body of water attributes its stunning shade of blue to waste from a nearby coal plant. But when a power plant has to remind you that swimming in their chemical waste dump is "not allowed" and "hazardous", you can pretty much bet you've gone too far.

A spokeswoman told AFP that the site "isn't poisonous" but has very high acidity.

"In the last week, our ash dump has become a celebrity on social networks", the energy company said last month, as they warned potential visitors not to drink or swim in the water as "skin contact with the water can lead to an allergic reaction".

"I took pictures there because it is very lovely and there are not lots of places nearby", Aksyutina told

One Instagram user commented on a photo of the pond, claiming that after swimming in the water, "the next morning, my legs were slightly red and itchy day two, then it went [away]". Locals also refer to the site as "Maldivinsk".

"I went there for a pretty picture". Zheleznova said she saw people setting up "whole picnics by the lake" and "one man even bathed there".

Photographer Ekaterina Aksyutina shot a client's wedding portraits by the lake.

She said they researched the dangers carefully before making the journey and made sure to follow the recommendations. A translation of a caption under an Instagram photo showing a man riding a unicorn pool float with his feet in the water said, "It's not risky to swim there".

It had previously cautioned that the site is off-limits, writing on its website: "The territory is an industrial zone, not a nature reserve or aquatic park". According to a report in The New York Times, a beautifully turquoise bit of water near the town of Novosibirsk has attracted hundreds of people intent on posing in front of what has recently been dubbed the "Maldives of Novosibirsk".

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