Russian Lake Attracts Many Visitors despite Warnings

Category : Human Interest

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. toxic / ˈtɒk sɪk / (adj) – containing dangerous or harmful substances

    The company dumps toxic chemicals in a man-made lake.

  2. catch the eye of (someone) / kætʃ ði aɪ ʌv / (idiom) – to get someone’s attention

    The new toy store near the food court caught the eye of my sister.

  3. backdrop / ˈbækˌdrɒp / (n) – a setting or view behind someone or something

    The beach served as a beautiful backdrop for the wedding.

  4. admonish / ædˈmɒn ɪʃ / (v) – to urge or encourage someone to do something

    The company admonished the people in the neighborhood to stay away from the dumpsite.

  5. make light of (something) / meɪk laɪt ʌv / (idiom) – to treat something as a joke or not serious

    The beachgoers made light of the lifeguard’s warnings about jellyfish and continued swimming.


Read the text below.

A man-made lake in Siberia, Russia, is attracting numerous visitors despite warnings about its toxic waters.

The artificial lake, widely referred to as “Novosibirsk Maldives” [noh-vuh-suhBEERSK MAWL-deevz], is actually a dumpsite. Siberian Generating Company (SGK), a power plant operator, uses the lake to dispose of coal ash. The lake has turquoise-colored water because it contains high levels of calcium salts and metal particles.

The bright blue color of the lake caught the eye of countless visitors because it provides an amazing backdrop for photoshoots. Many visitors would usually take pictures from along the banks of the dumpsite. However, other people would sometimes dare take photos of themselves floating on the lake.

The lake’s popularity prompted the SGK to warn people against swimming in the dumpsite. The company released a warning, which emphasizes that the chemicals in the lake’s water may cause allergic reactions. To further admonish people to avoid the lake, the SGK said that walking along the dumpsite is like walking through a military shooting range. In addition, the company began closing roads that lead to the lake.

Despite the company’s warnings, many people still continue to visit the dumpsite. In fact, social media users have even established a fan page for the lake. The page has about 200 photos of the dumpsite’s blue waters.

Many people also made light of the power plant’s warnings and continued sharing social media posts about their personal experience of going into the water. Some visitors even joked that they got only minor skin problems after swimming in the lake.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think people continue to visit the lake despite the power plant’s warnings?
• In your opinion, what rules should the power plant implement to prevent people from swimming in the dumpsite?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people go to dangerous places (e.g. cliffs, top of tall buildings) just to take photos?
• Should taking pictures in dangerous places be banned? Why or why not?

Category : Human Interest