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March 30, 2023
A lagoon in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region has turned bright pink. Activists have blamed this on pollution by a chemical used to preserve prawns for export.
The colour is caused by sodium sulfite, an anti-bacterial product used in fish factories, whose waste is blamed for contaminating the Chubut River that feeds the Corfo lagoon and other water sources in the region, according to activists. Residents who live near the lake have complained about foul smells and other environmental issues for some time.
“Those who should be in control are the ones who authorize the poisoning of people,” environmental activist Pablo Lada told AFP, blaming the government for the mess. The lagoon turned pink last week and remained the abnormal colour on Sunday, said Lada, who lives in the city of Trelew, not far from the lagoon and some 1,400 kilometres south of Buenos Aires.
Environmental engineer and virologist Federico Restrepo told AFP the colouration was due to sodium sulfite in fish waste, which by law, should be treated before being dumped. The lagoon, which is not used for recreation, receives runoff from the Trelew industrial park and has turned the colouror of fuchsia before.
“The reddish colouror does not cause damage and will disappear in a few days,” environmental control chief for Chubut province, Juan Micheloud, told AFP last week. Sebastian de la Vallina, planning secretary for the city of Trelew disagreed: “It is not possible to minimise something so serious.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: GIZMODO