Instagram influencers looking for an attention-grabbing shot to post are flocking to a lake in Siberia with impossibly bright blue waters, one that’s even been called the “Novosibirsk Maldives” for its tropical appearance despite being in one of the coldest and most desolate places on earth.
There’s just one major problem — the lake gets its neon blue color because it is filled with toxic waste.
BuzzFeed News reported on the popular lake, which has become a beacon for Instagram influencers and people looking to get an unusual photo. The report noted that people show up in swimsuits, sometimes wading into the turquoise waters and riding paddleboards. Others came to take wedding photos by the shore of the bright blue waters.
But unlike the actual Maldives that gets its color naturally, the lake in Siberia is discolored because of toxic runoff from a nearby coal plant. The lake is the destination for the waste from a heating and electrical station run by the Siberian Generating Company, which put out a warning to people not to go into the water there.
“You can not swim in the ash dump,” a translated statement warned.
As BuzzFeed News noted, the water itself isn’t toxic, but officials said it can cause an allergic skin reaction.
The report included a number of pictures from the lake, and there is even an Instagram account dedicated to sharing all the pictures posted from the lake.
This is not the first controversy around Instagram influencers trekking to dangerous sites to occur in recent weeks. After the wildly popular HBO miniseries Chernobyl, many people flocked to the danger zone to take pictures in the eerily deserted city of Pripyat. As The Inquisitr reported, some Instagram influencers came under fire for trying to capitalize off the popularity of the series by visiting the site of one of the largest man-made disasters of all time.
According to The Sun, the trend even prompted Chernobyl writer Craiz Mazin to put out a statement asking people to respect the site of the tragedy that claimed an untold number of lives.
“It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion,” Mazin tweeted.
“But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around. If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”
The warnings from the Siberian Generating Company haven’t seemed to slow the number of people looking to snag Instagram pictures in the bright blue lake.