Russian scientist visits Waukegan to get PCB cleanup tips
By Long Hwa-shu For Sun-Times Media October 25, 2013 7:14PM
Jean "Susie" Schreiber (left), chair of the Waukegan Harbor Citizens Advisory Group, and Russian guest Elena Kuzevanova, deputy director of Science for Baikal Ecological Network. The women were at the Waukegan home of Roy Czajkowski. | Tina Johansson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 27, 2013 6:08AM
A Russian scientist called the PCB cleanup of Waukegan Harbor a valuable lesson to learn for the environmental protection of her native Lake Baikal in Siberia.
Elena Kuzevanova, deputy director of science for Baikal Museum, said there are many similarities between the Russian lake and Lake Michigan. The museum is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Academy of Science.
“It’s a wonderful accomplishment,” she said of the PCB cleanup made possible under the Superfund while attending a luncheon hosted by Roy Czajkowski, a member of U.S. Commerce Department’s Committee of Environmental Trade & Technology.
Lake Baikal, the largest and the deepest lake in the world, contains 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water. So do the Great Lakes.
For Kuzevanova is a hydro-biologist and this is her eighth trip to Waukegan under a partnership agreement between Waukegan Harbor Citizens’ Advisory Group and Baikal Ecological Network, a non-profit conservation organization in Irkutsk, Russia.
The goal of the partnership, which dates back to 2001, is to form a sustainable cooperation between them to enhance the quality of water, air, land and lives around the two lakes, according to Jean B. Schreiber, who chairs the Waukegan Harbor group.
“Together we share 40 percent of the world’s surface fresh water,” Schreiber said of the importance of the partnership. Schreiber visited Lake Baikal in 2002.
The exchange of information and technology, she said, will make it possible for the Russians “to learn where we failed and succeeded so that they can plan carefully.”
“Together, both sides will benefit because science is global,” she added.
Lake Baikal has its own PCB problem. It has been polluted by PCB left by a paper mill that has been shut down. But because the lake has attracted many tourists, it has been confronted with problems of trash and sewage, especially from boats.
“We need infrastructure and equipment to handle garbage and sewage from boats,” she said.
During her present and previous trips, she visited not only the harbor, but also organizations such as the Lake County Forest Preserves, the North Shore Sanitary District and the Lake Forest Open Land Conservation Leadership Program to learn about the American way of protecting the environment. She has also visited schools on the North Shore.
“I’m lucky and fortunate to visit the Lake County area. I have learned a lot,” she said.
With a grant from the Waukegan advisory group, Kuzevanova was able to publish a book about Lake Baikal in Russia. Because that book sold well, she wrote another book about the lake. Both books have been used as textbooks for sixth- and seventh-graders in Russia.
Kuzevanova said she hopes to forge a student exchange as an outgrowth of the partnership.