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, as a result of a chemical reaction between toxic waste elements from a local power station, and environmentalists are warning people against coming into contact with the water, the AP reports. "We can compare it only with photos of the Maldives," said Sergey Griva, a local resident 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 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 Co. said Friday it has deployed guards to keep trespassers at bay, but insists the lake presents no environmental danger. (Siberia is in for major climate changes, researchers say.)