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Toxic Siberian Lake Becomes Selfie Sensation

A young woman poses for pictures by a Novosibirsk energy plant's ash dump site that has been nicknamed "Maldives" by locals on July 11, 2019. (Credit: Rostislav Netisov/AFP/Getty Images)

A young woman poses for pictures by a Novosibirsk energy plant's ash dump site that has been nicknamed "Siberian Maldives" by locals on July 11, 2019. (Credit: Rostislav Netisov/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents of a city in Siberia don’t need to fly off to tropical locales for picturesque selfies taken by pristine turquoise waters. Thousands of Novosibirsk residents — ranging from scantily clad women to newlyweds — have been busy instagramming near a bright blue lake nicknamed the “Siberian Maldives.”

The lake is blue, however, due to a chemical reaction between toxic waste elements from a local power station. Environmentalists are warning people against coming into contact with the water.

The Novosibirsk energy plant's ash dump site is seen on July 11, 2019, in Siberia.(Credit: Rostislav Netisov/AFP/Getty Images)

The Novosibirsk energy plant’s ash dump site is seen on July 11, 2019, in Siberia.(Credit: Rostislav Netisov/AFP/Getty Images)

“We can compare it only with photos of the Maldives,” said Sergey Griva, a local who visited the lake, adding he’s never been to the Maldives and couldn’t find it on a map.

Dmitry Shakhov, a Russian environmentalist, warned that the water in the lake can cause allergic reactions or even chemical burns if ingested or touched.

“This water is saturated with heavy metals (and) harmful substances,” he said.

The Siberian Generating Company said Friday it has deployed guards to keep trespassers at bay, but insists the lake presents no environmental danger.

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