CHE intensityCivil SocietyWater and sanitation

Wastewater and oil spills: the crisis in Lake Maracaibo is worsening | via: Radio Fe y Alegria

Graciela de los Angeles Portillo | Venezuela | June 29, 2023

Lenin Parra, coordinator of Fundación X Lago de Maracaibo, warned that the environmental crisis in the lake of the capital of the state of Zulia is being aggravated by an excessive bloom of microalgae that generates an extensive green layer, popularly known in Zulia as “verdín”, which is the reason why the waters of the lake currently look green or turquoise.

Parra explained, in the program De Primera Mano of Radio Fe y Alegría Noticias, that this arises due to the excess of nutrients coming from the waste waters, from the shrimp farms and the agricultural activity itself, which causes these plants to grow rapidly, creating very dense layers that when they accumulate cause unpleasant odors.

To this must be added that in the last two weeks environmental organizations of Zulia have denounced through social networks the oil spills that have been registered in Lake Maracaibo, which contaminate not only its waters but also the fauna and flora that live there.

Although it is understood that the reactivation of the oil activity benefits the country due to its income generation, environmental organizations have expressed the need to guarantee contingency measures for these spills.

In this context, the state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) announced on Monday, June 26, that a series of clean-up works began in Lake Maracaibo.

What to do?

The also coordinator of the Center for Environmental Studies of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, affirmed that in order to begin to diminish the damages, it is necessary to invest in wastewater treatment plants.

He gave as an example that, in view of the failures in the distribution of drinking water, the buildings located in the coastal area have invested in water wells and desalination plants.

Parra added that the municipal level should promote the efficient collection of urban solid waste, which if not collected, accumulates in the ravines and in the rainy season ends up flowing into the lake.

He also suggested that there should be increased vigilance and control of the companies that are taking their waste to the lake.

Support is needed

Lenin Parra called on citizens to support companies and organizations that promote recycling.

“There are organizations that promote waste collection days, but it is like environmental education therapy: we cannot solve the problem by ourselves,” he said.