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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.

The Decoration of Our Homeland is in Your Hands | Russia | 1980£150.00
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Further Reading

travel

The Trans-Siberian Railroad - The Railroad that Changed the World and Started a War

9,198 kilometres of tracks connect Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. As the longest railroad in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway is truly one of humanity’s most impressive engineering feats. But, this symbol of Soviet power has also had an outsized impact on the world at large. Its construction was the catalyst for a war between two superpowers, it transported millions of prisoners to the Gulags, and served as a lifeline during the Second World War.

travel

Exploring Budapest’s Dystopian Underground Water Reservoir

Rising above the banks of Budapest’s Danube river is Gellért Hill, an affluent residential area with elegant tree-lined streets. But, hidden beneath the surface is a strange and surreal sight - the József Gruber Water Reservoir. Every March, it’s emptied for its annual cleaning. With 106 stretched columns, the second basin makes for a futuristic and dystopian landscape.

art

Abandoned Kyrgyzstan: Aalam-Ordo, the Centre of the Universe

Along the southern border of Issyk-Kul lake, Kyrgyzstan, two shining golden gates and 1,500 metre long wall shield a giant hundred hectare complex. I scaled the wall and on the other side, I discovered hundreds of abandoned yurts, an outdoor theatre and a handful of colourful peeling murals. ‘Aalam-Ordo’, which translates as ‘the centre of the universe’, now sits abandoned.

culture

The Eagle has Landed: Hunting with the Last Eagle Hunters in Kyrgyzstan

High above the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake, in east Kyrgyzstan, we wait and watch for movement on the rocky hillside below. Movement means prey. And that means that the hunt is on. For centuries, the nomadic people of Central Asia have used eagles to hunt for food and fur. On one a freezing morning in December, I went hunting with Nur-Sultan, Kyrgyzstan’s most famous eagle hunter.

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