Bolivia’s Uru Uru Lake is now a Plastic Wasteland
Once a popular tourist attraction, Bolivia’s Uru Uru Lake has now turned into a plastic wasteland. Over the years, excessive plastic has been dumped into the lake by nearby urban areas and industries. The horrific sight of discarded plastic bottles, containers, toys, and other plastic items can be seen on the surface of the lake. To make matters worse, its water has been contaminated by heavy metals like arsenic, zinc, and cadmium.
There was a time when Uru Uru lake had an abundance of wildlife and was popular for fishing. In 2016, the lake suffered the worst drought that dried up most of its water, leaving heaps of plastic waste and other man-made garbage on its surface.
Bolivia's Uru Uru lake is more plastic waste than water, reflecting years of pollution and the scar of climate change. Local volunteers, workers and even a French influencer are trying to clean up the lake https://t.co/I7PTpKbg7i pic.twitter.com/Z96YQOSSyo
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 9, 2021
The lake once had a dimension of 214 square kilometers which has now reduced to 30 square kilometers. The reasons behind this plight of the lake are climate change and excessive waste, which is being relentlessly dumped in the lake by nearby industries, urban areas, and mines. Having no outlet to the sea, plastic waste has no way out and is now piled up on the lake’s surface.
Determined to make a difference, several volunteers gathered at the lake on April 7 and started a cleanliness drive. These volunteers extracted plastic waste from the lake with the hope to help to restore the once-beloved lake.
An ecologist with the regional Ecological Centre and Andean People (CEPA), Limber Sanchez said,
Alongside the plastic is also the impact of the acidic water from mining that has come from the San Jose Mine that almost 365 days of the year empties directly into our Lake Uru Uru. The lake has been hit with a deadly combination of urban contamination, mining contamination, and climate change, which has caused the lake to shrink.
French social media influencer, Alex Dessard, who came all the way from France to Bolivia to help clean the lake, has said that it’s a shame that so much garbage has accumulated there over the years or perhaps a decade. He said that now it’s time to think about the future and clean the lake and become aware so that we don’t have to clean again.
These continued acts of water pollution have contaminated each and every water resource on the planet. Soon, there will be nothing in these resources but waste and garbage.