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.
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