Government officials are warning tourists away from traveling to the “Novosibirsk Maldives,” a lake that looks natural and beautiful but is actually man-made and potentially dangerous.
The body of water is located near the Russian city of Novosibirsk and received its nickname for its bright blue water, which is reminiscent of the Maldives, a group of islands that are a popular luxury vacation destination in the Indian Ocean. The site has been increasing in popularity with Instagram users, who flock to the area to snap a photo with the otherworldly H20.
The Siberian pond even has its own Instagram account, which boasts over 150 posts showing visitors posing near the water in bathing suits, or even on the water in pool floats or on stand-up paddle boards.
However, officials claim the water’s incredible blue color is actually the result of a massive ash dump from a nearby coal plant, and are asking visitors to stay clear of the area.
According to the Moscow Times, “this lake is not a natural miracle at all, but an ash dump into which CHPP-5 [the coal plant] is dumping waste.”
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The power plant in question, the Siberian Generating Company, claims that while the pond is ‘not technically poisonous,’ visitors should not go swimming in the body of water.
One local who took some pictures alongside the pond last month, told Mashable that although there wasn’t any detectable odor, she still stayed clear of entering the water.
“The whole periodic table is in [there],” she said.
The Siberian Generating Company took to Russian social media website VK last month to clarify exactly what chemicals are in the water, attributing the color to “calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. A company representative warned, “skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction.”
The company also stated that the bottom of the pond is extremely muddy, which makes it difficult for swimmers to gain solid footing in case of an emergency.
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].”
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For aspiring influencers or regular vacationers looking for a similarly breathtaking and (and safe) vista, there are plenty of places around the world with bright blue water to visit.
Peyto Lake in Canada’s Banff National Park is shockingly blue thanks to meltwater and silt from the Peyto Glacier and the Wapta Icefields nearby. Lakes in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are vibrant for the same reason.
Japan’s Blue Pond in Hokkaido is man-made and not for swimming, but it’s safe to visit and a major tourist attraction.
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