Venezuela: the Maracaibo lake again shows high levels of pollution

The residents and fishermen of the Santa Rosa de Agua area on the north coast of Maracaibo Lake, are suffering what could be the announcement of the high levels of pollution of the most important estuary in South America.

On the banks of the lake can be seen the advanced state of the spread of a new green spot to which fishermen and neighbors called “greeny”.

The president of the Association of Fishermen of Santa Rosa, Emeri Delgado, said the “green spot” is worse than the duckweed or water lentils, as it leaves without oxygen the lake killing fish, also of the pestilence that fills the area.

Fishermen claim there is a large decrease in fish production due to problems related to pollution of the lake, among these, the constant leaking oil, the water lentils and now the so called “greeny”.

According to the CEO of the Blue Environmentalists Foundation, Gustavo Carrasquel, who visited the place to implement the audiovisual program of this NGO, “Environmental Attention”, this is “a result of the unwillingness of state agencies responsible for the conservation of the Maracaibo Lake. “

“The lack of sewage treatment plants, the irrational abuse of many companies, which for decades have poured residuals pollutants to the lake, coupled with excessive organic material that provides nutrients, makes this kind of phenomena appear,” said Carrasquel.

According to experts among them of the organization ACLAMA (in spanish), the Maracaibo Lake basin requires about ten plants of wastewater treatment, but apparently there are only two in the region.

Recent complementary research to the audiovisual material in this report, indicates that the green spot, called ”greeny” spreaded from early 2012.

According to a report in April 2012, published in a local newspaper this “green spot” runs silent and sometimes unnoticed, but causing a lot of damage in the watershed of Maracaibo Lake. Apparently it is blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and the called “greeny” can become toxic.

These blue-green algae find their best “food” on the nutrients provided mainly by sewage and fertilizer residues, all those rich in nitrogen and phosphorus.

They are organisms able to reflect the conditions of the water bodies. Apparently in the Lake of Maracaibo prevails the Anacistys sp and may limit the development of some types of phytoplankton, necessary for the life of several species, and reduce oxygen in the upper layers.

Some may become toxic or semitoxics and are found in the lake throughout the year, but in many cases their density has dropped by the “competition” with water lentils for light and nutrients. Moreover, the toxins produced by several of these cyanophytes can poison animals that inhabit the lake ecosystem or drink the water.

A study of Cyanophyta approached between April and May 2005 by the ICLAM (in spanish) revealed that on the western zone concentrated 64.16%, followed by the South of the Lake area with 19.19%, while in the Strait it was observed 11.97 %.

However, this same agency (ICLAM), has not provided alternatives for seven years to control what evidence the further spread of this plant that is affecting communities and eroding the lake ecosystem.

Given this, the Blue Environmentalists Foundation calls for an environmental attention, to the Director of the Ministry of Environment and the President of ICLAM (in spanish) to trigger concrete plans for sanitation and protection of biodiversity and varied ecosystems on Lake Maracaibo.

“The Zulians deserve actions which demonstrate the ability of these agencies in front the advanced level of our lake pollution. Immediate action plans, with training to communities, massive environmental education to raise awareness and reduce the environmental impact, ” said Gustavo Carrasquel.

Blue Environmentalists Foundation | ANCA24

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About ANCA24canada

Environmental, Ecologists and Conservationist news from the Americas
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