A Dying Lake: Titcaca, Poisoned from Mercury, Hospitals, Sewage and Slaughterhouses

“The Autonomous Water Authority of the Lake Titicaca Basin was created by the two countries sharing the Lake (Bolivia and Peru) to work together on the management of the water resources of the basin to ensure that long-term co-operation is guaranteed through a sound vision that is common to all stakeholders.”

Being the highest navigable leak in the world is no consolation for Lake Titicaca. Its ultra-high elevation could not prevent the dumping of raw sewage, garbage and industrial waste into the rivers that feed the Lake. Unfortunately, this behavior has continued far too long.

“Without sewage treatment facilities, this lake is doomed to death from asphyxiation by pollution.”

The greatest damage is suffered by the poor people who live along the banks of the lake and depend on it for the livelihoods. How bad is this pollution?

“Besides receiving sewage and industrial waste from the city of Puno, Lake Titicaca receives agricultural run-offs from the surrounding areas and tailings from mineral processing plants and the region’s more than 30,000 informal miners. During the dry season, the Katari, Ramis, Seco, Seque, Pallina and Jalaqueri rivers deposit trash and metal contaminants they pick up from cities and towns along their banks.”

Lake Titicaca is just one of the many freshwater lakes around the world that are being polluted by uncontrolled deposits of environmental contaminants. As is that threat alone is not enough, the world’s lakes – such as the Great Lakes in the United States and Lake Victoria in Africa – are also being reduced in volume by global warming and the resulting decline in mountain snows and rainfall that would normally replenish lowered levels.

Lake Titicaca Strangled by Pollution is about this solitary lake straddling the borders of Peru and Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains – but, it could be about other lakes as well.

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