Pollution stains lagoon purple in Paraguay

Clean, Paraguay – Laguna Cerro, in the Paraguayan city of Limpio, is sharply divided into two parts: a purple and a blue. One emits a bad smell; the other does not.

The lagoon was divided by the construction of an embankment on which a path was made for the passage of trucks that go to or come from local factories.

Several months ago, people began to notice the change in color of the water on one side of the road and the death of fish and birds. They went to local environmental authorities to take water samples.

“Three months ago all the fish in the lagoon died, thousands and thousands,” said resident Herminia Meza. “The smell was unbearable and the flies swept us away, and the herons died a month ago and everything turned this red.”

Francisco Ferreira, a technician at the Multidisciplinary Center for Technological Research, of the National University of Asunción, who took the samples, said on Wednesday that the color of the water is due to the presence of heavy metals such as chromium, which is used in ordinary way in leather tanning.

The Waltrading SA tannery is located on the edge of the lagoon.

“We will do the analyzes and I will pass my report to the Legal Department,” said Rosa Morel, inspector of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, to the digital media abc. “There is a tannery behind it and it is definitely the tannery that pollutes.”

Morel said that in a previous visit, the experts verified the existence of a pipe that comes directly from the tannery and dumps waste into the lagoon. He pointed out that the main requirement of the authorities for the company is that it build a treatment plant for the waste.

The company has declined to comment on the matter, according to abc.

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