30,000 illegal mines polute Lake Titicaca

September 22nd, 2008

President of the Autonomous Authority of Lake Titicaca, Julián Barra, said today that more than 30 thousand informal unregistered small scale mining operations near the world’s highest navigable lake are causing terrible pollution to both it an surrounding rivers.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Barra has solicited the regional authorities of Puno for help and assistance to better manage and control these informal operations and to catch those discarding waste chemicals and materials into local water sources.

Lake Titicaca possesses the continents largest source of fresh water, and as Barra states, its preservation and protection are likely to be vital for the future of the region. The increases in the lake’s levels of pollution are alarming.

Barra states that the foreign ministries of Peru and Bolivia issued a memorandum in 2006 to take appropriate measures to prevent further contamination of the lake.

It also said, however, that the Ministry of Agriculture has authority over Lake Titicaca – leading to the Ministry of Environment proposing the joint to take control of the lake – slowing down immediate enforcement measures in an attempt to speed them up. Typical of the bureaucracy of Peru.

As for the tourist attraction the lake is, reports of increased stocks of the so-called “golden trout” has seen fishing on the lake grow to become one of the most popular activities for tourists in the past year.

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