Environmentalists are celebrating the closure of one of the most controversial pulp and paper mills in the world, at Baikalsk, on the shore of Lake Baikal, near Irkutsk, Russia. For more than 40 years this mill, owned by the billionaire Oleg Deripaska, has been pouring effluent polluted with chlorine-based chemicals into the lake. Baikal is the biggest and oldest body of freshwater on the planet, containing 20% of the world's drinking water and many endemic species. Protection of this lake has formed a focus for the environmental movement in Russia, led by Baikal Environmental Wave, which has campaigned tirelessly for the mill to be closed. The failure of an expensive effort to techo-fix the pollution problem has finally led government officials to demand that it shut down operations. It was originally designed to provide 'strategic pulp' to make rayon for parachutes, but this need was superceded by petrochemical fibres before the mill opened in the mid 1960s. Ever since it has produced packaging paper and textile fibres, mostly exported to China.