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Peru and Bolivia sign historic deal to save Lake Titicaca

Le due nazioni sudamericane hanno siglato un’intesa per bonificare il lago Titicaca e i suoi numerosi affluenti, devastati dall’inquinamento.

Bolivia and Peru signed a historic deal on 7 January in La Paz to clean up the habitat of Lake Titicaca. The paper envisages on the one hand a series of measures aimed to limit pollutants that everyday pour into the basin, on the other hand the lake clean-up. The project is going to cost 500 million dollars and will be completed by 2025.

The deal has been signed by the Ministers of the Environment of the two countries: the Bolivian Alexandra Moreira and the Peruvian Manuel Pulgar. Minister Pulgar stated that the two countries are “already taking concrete actions such as investing in water treatment plants to address the main problems the lake is facing.”

 

Il Lago Titicaca è considerato sacro per gli indiani delle Ande ©Chris Cheadle/All Canada Photos/Corbis
Lake Titicaca is considered sacred by Andean natives ©Chris Cheadle/All Canada Photos/Corbis

 

Lake Titicaca is victim of the exponential growth of urban centres

Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world and sacred place to Andean natives – is mostly polluted by waste water coming from the surrounding residential areas, which underwent an exponential development over the past few years. The lake has over 25 tributaries that pour waste water from households, factories, mines, and hospitals into the basin. In fact, antibiotics and heavy metals were found in tests carried out by scientists.

 

La sponda boliviana del lago Titicaca ©Ben Pipe/robertharding/Corbis
Lake Titicaca’s Bolivian shore ©Ben Pipe/robertharding/Corbis

 

“It’s a nightmare: the ecosystem is going to face a dramatic disequilibrium,” explained a citizen to the Belgian newspaper La Libre. During summer, numerous people took part in initiatives aimed at cleaning up the tributaries. They found quite everything: from carcasses to appliances, for a total of 4,000 tonnes of waste pull out of the rivers.

 

Le dimensioni dei centri abitati attorno al lago Titicaca sono cresciute esponenzialmente negli ultimi anni, il che ha provocato ripercussioni dirette sull'ecosistema ©Jeremy Horner/Corbis
Urban centres surrounding Lake Titicaca underwent an exponential growth over the past few years, resulting in direct effects on the ecosystem ©Jeremy Horner/Corbis

 

As for biodiversity, a catastrophe is looming over. The lake, which extends for over 8,500 square metres, is home to the unique Titicaca water frog, two endangered fish species, and thousands of birds. For this reason, the decision made by the governments of Peru and Bolivia was long awaited, since the situation could become irreparable.

 

Cover photo: ©Laurent Lhote/Biosphoto/Corbis

 

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