Pollution from a fishing factory has turned a lake in Argentina neon pink.
The Corfo Lagoon, situated in the southern Patagonia region, is 10 to 15 hectares in area. As well as the striking color, the lagoon is now producing a foul smell.
Environmentalists say the pollution is caused by sodium sulfite. The chemical is an antibacterial product, commonly used to preserve prawns before exporting them.
Locals protested the practice weeks ago. Residents blocked roads used to transport the fish waste through their streets to treatment plants.
In a response to the protests, authorities gave the factories permission to dump the waste into the Corfo Lagoon.
Juan Micheloud, Environmental Control Chief for Chubut province, assured that the pink color is harmless. He told AFP that the color ‘does not cause damage and will disappear in a few days’.
Sebastian de la Vallina, Planning Secretary for the city of Trelew, disagrees. “It is not possible to minimise something so serious,” he said.
Lake pollution is not uncommon. In April, tons of dead fish spilled out of a polluted lake in Lebanon. ‘Huge quantities’ of wastewater, industrial waste, and agricultural runoff had made it ‘increasingly toxic’, Arab News reported.
The month prior, reports surfaced of pollution in Lake Uru Uru in western Bolivia. The lake – which was once home to the largest flamingo population in the region – turned black and brown.
Experts said cadmium, zinc, and arsenic runoff from a nearby mine caused the damage. The lake was also covered in heaps of waste, predominantly plastic bottles.