Instagrammers flock to chemical waste dump for tropical-style snaps

The Novosibirsk lake's a popular wedding spot.
The Novosibirsk lake's a popular wedding spot. Photo credit: maldives_nsk/Instagram

A chemical waste dump in a remote part of Russia has become an unlikely social media star. 

Its deep blue waters have been compared to island paradises like the Maldives, attracting Instagram users from across the country. 

However the Novosibirsk lake's colour comes not from its purity, but the opposite - deposits of calcium salts and metal oxides from a nearby power plant, the New York Times reports.

An official from operator Siberian Generating Company told the paper it's "almost impossible" to get out of the dump if you touch the muddy bottom and it's a "hazard" no one should be going near, let alone posing next to.

But it's not actually poisonous, as has been reported in some outlets.

"Plants do not die," the company said on Russian social media site VK

"The radiation background is normal there: two independent laboratories concluded this."

People still shouldn't swim in it regardless because the high pH levels of the lake - thanks to all the ash that's dumped in it - can cause adverse reactions.

One Instagram user told CBS News after he floated in the lake on an inflatable unicorn, his legs were itchy for days.