A Chinese mineral water company planning to build a bottled water factory near Lake Baikal in Russia denied that its construction would damage the local ecology, calling the petition against its construction "groundless."
The claim that our pipelines in the lake would damage the local ecology is totally groundless and wildly exaggerated, as we do not have a detailed construction plan yet, a marketing department manager with the Beijing Jin Bei Yuan International Commerce and Trading Co, surnamed Jiang told the Global Times.
And as far as I am concerned, we only grab water from a depth of 400 to 500 meters, Jiang said.
According to mirnov.ru, a Russian-language website, more than 300,000 people have signed two online petitions as of Tuesday to scrap the construction of the plant allegedly built in Irkutsk, Russia.
One of the petitions' authors, Zorikto Matanov, said that the establishment of the plant will cause irreparable damage both to the lake and to local residents, as the project requires long pipelines, the report said.
The other petition author, Alexei Ivanov, said Baikal was drastically drying up and its level has already fallen below the critical level. The plant expects to pump more than 500,000 liters of water daily, which is unacceptable under current conditions, the report added.
"We previously got an approval from the local governments to build a bottled water plant, and the plant will be small and located in Ulan-Ude, a city on the southeast bank of the lake, so it will not pose a threat to Irkutsk residents, who live across the lake. But construction has yet to begin this year," said Jiang.
The company is getting water for its product from a Russian bottled water company, said Jiang.
Jiang added that the company has not received any petition as of press time.
When asked if the petitions would alter their construction plan, Jiang said he is unsure since the Beijing office has not heard much about the petitions.
However, he believes that there are misunderstandings, and that the construction would be a win-win situation, since it would create job opportunities and bring economic benefits.
Jiang did not discuss the details of the contract and to what extent the company would pay attention to the local environmental protection issue.