Jen sends in this story about life along the Volga. It turns out, years of dumping waste into the river have not been good for the enviornment.
Chicago Tribune, July 8, 2008: "The Volga River has been Russia's lifeblood for centuries, and is as cherished there as the Mississippi is in the United States. But now, segments of the river serve as dumping grounds for factories along its banks, and the river is edging toward environmental ruin.
"'In recent years, industrial activity has been on the rise in Russia, and that's very dangerous because the wastewater-cleaning facilities at industrial plants date back to Soviet times,' said Galina Chernogayeva, a scientist at the Institute for Global Climate and Ecology, which studies water pollution in Russia," adding, "in 10, 20 or 30 years we may find ourselves in a situation when part of the country's territory will be unfit for living"