“The superficial beauty of these places conceals a horrendous threat to the environment,” Alexander Sukharev, a Moscow photographer who took the photos, wrote on Twitter. A co-founder of the ‘Kosmaj Project’, Sukharev travelled around Russia this summer and used a quadcopter to photograph industrial liquid waste reservoirs and thermal power station ash dumps.
The sludge disposal site of an aluminium plant in the city of Kamensk-Uralsky in the Sverdlovsk Region.Twitter/@13_pilot1
“This summer, we spent two and a half months travelling across the whole of Russia, all the way to Vladivostok. There were a couple of such sites on our itinerary. But along the way I was so drawn into this whole business that I started looking for such lakes in every city we passed,” the photographer said.
As a result, his compilation includes pictures of liquid waste dumps in Sterlitamak, the Sverdlovsk Region, Zima, Tyumen, the Maritime Territory, Karabash and Omsk, as well as from the ‘Maldives’ of Novosibirsk - an ash dump in which the shade of the water is bright turquoise as at the tourist resorts on the famous islands.
In the case of the Siberian ‘Maldives’, the color of the water is a result of its high alkalinity and relatively low depth - just one or two meters. “Walking around the ash dump is like walking around a military training ground - it is dangerous and undesirable… Skin contact with the water could produce a local allergic reaction, due to the high mineral content,” management of the thermal power plant explained.
Novosibirsk Combined Heat and Power Plant No 5 (CHP-5)Twitter/@13_pilot1
It turns out that many ash and sludge disposal reservoirs are particularly beautiful precisely owing to the chemical processes and this draws photographers to them. “The palette of a fatal artist,” says Sukharev. He plans to expand his collection of views of industrial reservoirs.
Wastewater reservoir of a copper-sulphide mine near the village of Lyovikha in the Sverdlovsk Region.Twitter/@13_pilot1
Liquid waste reservoir near the town of Zima.Twitter/@13_pilot1
Liquid waste reservoir on the route of the Chita-Khabarovsk highway.Twitter/@13_pilot1
Waste treatment facilities in Sterlitamak.Twitter/@13_pilot1
Industrial reservoir of the Tyumen CHP-2 power plant.Twitter/@13_pilot1
The ash dump of the Artyom CHP power plant in the Maritime Territory.Twitter/@13_pilot1
The Omsk CHP power plant waste dump.Twitter/@13_pilot1
Liquid waste reservoir on the route of the Irkutsk-Krasnoyarsk highway.Twitter/@13_pilot1
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