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Photo Essay: The Unworldly Photos of Industrial Waste Landscapes in Russia

At first, these surreal landscapes look like images of far-off planets. But they’re actually photos of sewage drainage channels, waste-water reservoirs and ash disposal sites. “The superficial beauty of these places conceals a horrendous threat to the environment,” said photographer Alexander Sukharev, who spent a few months travelling across Russia capturing these sites with his drone. 

The waters of a lake nearby the Siberian Generating Company Power plant in Novosibirsk are turquoise blue. The toxic lake in Siberia, nicknamed the Siberian Maldives has become a selfie hotspot for locals and tourists. The water, which is saturated with heavy metals and harmful substances can cause allergic reactions or even chemical burns if ingested or touched.

More than 20 years ago, an abandoned copper mine flooded close to Levikha village, in the Sverdlovsk region. The sulphuric acid turned a nearby river orange, burning the soil and trees, and killing all animals who lived there.

The waste treatment facilities in Sterlitamak. Authorities are using bacteria which feed on the waste, to reduce the environmental impact.

Liquid waste reservoir near the town of Zima.

In the Far East of Russia, close to China’s northern border, is the Khabarovsk region. The region is known for its copper, tin and gold mines, and this liquid waste reservoir on the Chita-Khabarovsk highway.

The ash dump of the Artyom CHP power plant in the Primorye region.

The world needs to move fast to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change. We all leave an impact on the planet, so we can all play a part in preventing climate change. Read more about our efforts to reduce our impact here. Shop our environmental propaganda posters below or explore the collection here.

Take Care of the Springs! | Russia | 1986£200.00
Life Threatening | Lithuania | 1983£450.00
Let’s Tidy Up Our Environment | Lithuania | 1972£250.00
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Further Reading

architecture

Ten Must Read Books on Soviet Art, Design and Culture

Most Russian literature on the list of ‘books you must read’ are old and very long. War & Peace or The Gulag Archipelago are striking works of literature, or so I’m told. Both have sat on my shelf for the past two years. Instead, I’ve put together a list of less intimidating books on Soviet art, design and culture.

travel

Welcome to Bulunkul, Central Asia's Coldest Town

Nestled in the center of the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, more than 12,000ft (3,700m) above sea level, there is a small plateau with 45 houses at the end of the road. These houses, home to 306 people, are in the village of Bulunkul, more affectionately known as Central Asia’s coldest town.

art

Soviet Logos: The Lost Logos of a Socialist Utopia

Logos are the badge of capitalism. They distinguish one brand from its competitor. In the Soviet Union, the state controlled all aspects of production. Logos weren’t necessary. Yet, Soviet designers created them by their thousands. Rokas Sutkaitis, explores their hidden history in his new book.

architecture

Photo Essay: Turkmenistan's Shining Marble City, Ashgabat

Little of the Soviet legacy survives in Turkmenistan. Since gaining independence after the fall of the USSR, Turkmenistan has articulated a new identity and vision for the future through a series of architectural projects. Photographer Arnau Rovira Vidal visited the insular country and took these photos.

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