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Resource July 18, 2012

Lake Titicaca: At Risk From Upstream Urban Pollution


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During the dry season, from May through November, the River Seco is just a trickle fed by wastewater from homes, slaughterhouses, tanneries and mining operations. Along its course through El Alto, the river runs red with blood, vivid green with algae, black with oil and a thick brilliant rust color from mineral processing. Image by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky. Bolivia, 2011.

Pulitzer Center grantees Noah Friedman-Rudovsky and Sara Shahriari report from Bolivia on Lake Titicaca, documenting the contamination and environmental destruction of South America's most important lake.

The contamination stems from upstream urban pollution, largely resulting from the migration of Bolivian people from the countryside to the city of El Alto. The influx overwhelms the city's infrastructure, causing waste management problems and severe health risks, in addition to sending pollution downstream to unsuspecting communities and, ultimately, Lake Titicaca.


A yellow elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change