The international symposium "The Great Lakes" opened in Veliky Novgorod (a city in Russia's northwest) on Monday. The natural resources committee of the Novgorod Region reported that the participants in the symposium are discussing problems of the protection and rational use of the world's major lakes.
Special attention will be paid to the local Lake Ladoga which is rated 17th among the world's biggest lakes, as well as the Novgorod Lake Ilmen.
Taking part in the work of the forum, which will last until September 6, are more than 150 scientists from Russia, Denmark, Canada, the USA, Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.