Jägala river starts in Ahula village in the western part of Pandivere upland, and flows into Ihasalu bay. One of the highest waterfalls in Estonia – Jägala waterfall – is located near the river’s estuary. Kehra town and
its paper factory are situated upstream; both of my grandparents worked in the factory during their lifetime. Downstream there is a hydroelectric plant and an artificial lake. During the paper factory’s active functioning, the river has always been polluted, since the industry produces harmful waste for the living organisms in the water. The pollution was especially extensive during the Soviet era, when there were no quality treatment facilities. In 1978, Andrei Tarkovsky filmed “Stalker” on Jägala river and on the premises of the destroyed electric plant – the filming lasted about a month and after that it was rumored that the river water was toxic and the filming crew had allergic reactions. One can see the foamy river water in “Stalker” – just like it could be seen fifteen years ago and sometimes even today. The factory was closed for several years in the early 1990s – I remember swimming beneath the Jägala waterfall in summer and the feeling of paradise that could be possible due to the halted manufacturing.