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Plastic garbage covers Central American rivers, lakes and beaches

Plastic waste floats on the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador
Plastic waste floats on the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador.

A blanket of multi-colored plastic waste flowing in from tributaries covers Lake Suchitlan in El Salvador.

This is a sorry scene which has also become an all too common sight on the Caribbean beaches of Honduras, where a large number of a great deal of rubbish arrive from neighboring Guatemala.

Fizzy drink bottles, medication packets, tattered flipflops: a variety of plastic rubbish are available floating on 13,500-hectare (52 square mile) Lake Suchitlan, which serves as a reservoir for an electrical plant and is known as by UNESCO to become a wetland of international importance.

Local fishermen say the pollution forces tilapia and cichlid fish deeper in to the artificial lakethe largest body of freshwater in the countrywhere they can not be reached with .

“It’s been more than 8 weeks since we have been in a position to fish,” angler Luis Penate, 25, told AFP.

To create ends meet he’s got started ferrying around tourists in a boat owned by another fisherman.

Ducks clear paths through the rubbish, little tortoises climb along with floating bottles to sunbathe and skinny horses wade in to the lake to drink the .

This contamination is unprecedented, says Jacinto Tobar, the mayor of Potonico, a little village 100 kilometers north of San Salvador in Chalatenango department.

A horse surrounded by plastic waste drinks water in the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador
A horse surrounded by plastic waste drinks water in the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador.

“The fauna and flora are suffering a whole lot” and you can find ever fewer tourists, he said.

The fishermen must contend with 1.5 million black cormorants that inhabit the lake, in accordance with Tobar, who says they will have become a kind of plague since arriving as and staying put.

With a population of 2,500, Potonico may be the most affected of 15 riverside villages.

Hawaii body that administers the reservoir employs a large number of workers to completely clean the lake yourself.

Some locals also help you with the duty, which Tobar says will need 3 to 4 months to perform.

“So what can hopefully for later on if we don’t take care of the environment, if we soil our streets, rivers, lakes, forests and beaches,” said President Nayib Bukele earlier this week at the launch of a “Zero Rubbish” campaign.

Environment minister Fernando Lopez said the united states generates 4,200 a great deal of each day, which 1,200 tons result in rivers, beaches and streets.

A fisherman looks out over the carpet of plastic waste covering the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador
A fisherman looks out on the carpet of plastic waste within the Cerron Grande reservoir in Potonico, El Salvador.

‘Unable to avoid it’

Among the worst affected regions of the Central American Caribbean coast may be the beaches of the Omoa region in Honduras.

This is a beautiful coastline with abundant vegetation and , some 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Tegucigalpa.

However in some places the sand is nearly entirely covered with plastic waste of most sorts, including syringes.

“This rubbish originates from the Motagua river on the Guatemalan side, they weren’t in a position to stop it,” said Candido Flores, 76, an area resident.

“Because the river rises, it returns again.”

It has generated islands of floating waste which have been denounced by local authorities and activists, and contains even caused tensions between your two countries.

Each year, some 20,000 a great deal of plastic waste comes through the Las Vacas river, a tributary of the Motagua, based on the Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch NGO.

People in a boat clean up plastic rubbish from the Cerron Grande in Potonico, El Salvador by hand
People in a boat tidy up plastic rubbish from the Cerron Grande in Potonico, El Salvador yourself.

The majority of that originates from a landfill in the Guatemalan capital.

Environmental activists say the issue should be tackled at its source.

“We should attack where in fact the main flow of rubbish originates from,” said Eduardo Arguera, 29, an architecture student at the University of El Salvador, who has launched several tidy up campaigns.

To contain plastic waste and stop it from reaching rivers and lakes, he suggests fencing it in at strategic points.

Ricardo Navarro, president of the biggest market of Appropriate Technology, says only 30 percent of the waste floats; the others sinks to underneath of the bodies of water.

Meaning what’s visible, quite literally, is merely the end of the iceberg.

The US Environment Programme says 11 million metric a great deal of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year, and warns that number could triple within the next 20 years.



2022 AFP

Citation: Plastic garbage covers Central American rivers, lakes and beaches (2022, September 16) retrieved 16 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-plastic-garbage-central-american-rivers.html

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