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15 Apr, 2008 15:01

Russian woman wins top green award

A Russian woman has received the world's largest cash prize honouring achievements of grassroots environmental activists. Marina Rikhvanova won the prize for her work in protecting Russia's oldest and biggest lake – Baikal.

She received $US 150,000 for leading efforts to protect the region from the dangers of oil and other industries.

The annual Goldman Environmental Prize rewards environmentalists from each of the world's six inhabited continental regions for their work on a local level.

Marina, who's won the prize for Asia, is a native of the region surrounding Lake Baikal. She successfully campaigned to re-route a petroleum pipeline from the lake's watershed.

For four years, she and her team collected over 20,000 signatures and staged numerous protests around the lake.

Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake, and holds 20% of the world's unfrozen freshwater reserve and has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Marina now plans to continue her work to prevent the construction of a uranium enrichment facility in the region.