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Lake Titicaca set for major cleanup

January 14, 2017

South America's largest lake is set for a major cleanup. After years of uncontrolled pollution affecting the cross-border lake, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has announced construction of 10 treatment plants.

Peru Bolivien Titicaca See Grenze Bedrohter See des Jahres 2012
Image: AP

"We continue working for all Peruvians," the 78-year-old said. "We want all Peruvians, those from the High-Andean Plateau, the jungle, the Andes and coast to have clean water at home. We also want drains not to pollute," he expressed.

Kuczynski made the announcement on Friday during a visit to the lake, the highest navigable lake in the world, spanning a length of 190km and width of 80km. 

Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Image: picture alliance/dpa/S. Silva

Kuczynski said the plants that will be built on rivers emptying into the lake will cost $437 million. He stressed that ultimately the project would directly benefit over one million people and their well-being.

The rapid expansion of towns and factories near the lake has contributed to runoff that has turned once-crystal azure waters a murky green and destroyed the livelihood of thousands of fishermen.

Each year, some 750,000 tourists visit the 12,470-foot-high (3,800 meter-high) lake.

Along the shores of the lake that lies on the border of Bolivia and Peru, the water has a weird foam layeron the surface.

Besides contamination, the lake might have another problem to face. In November 2015, neighbouring Lake Poopo in Bolivia dried out.

jbh/kl (AP, EFE)