Bolivia’s Second Largest Lake Disappeared Due To Climate Change

Posted: Jan 24 2016, 4:05pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Bolivia’s Second Largest Lake Disappeares Due to Climate Change
Credit: NASA

Bolivia's Lake Poopo has dried up and has badly affected the local ecosystem and thousands of people depending on the lake for their livelihoods.

Lake Poopo, Bolivia’s second largest lake, has completely dried up. The lake has been officially declared ‘evaporated’ and this situation will naturally hit badly hundreds and thousands of people who depend on the lake for their livelihoods.

The disappearance of the lake is linked to climate change, droughts, recurrent El Nino, melting of glaciers and human activities like mining and agriculture.

“This is a picture of the future of climate change.” Dirk Hoffman, a German glaciologist who studies how burning of fossil fuels has accelerated glacier melting said.

Lake Poopo existed more than 12,000 feet above sea level on Bolivia’s semi-arid Andean plains and has the long history of bearing the brunt of climate change. The lake has already dried up before, but somehow manages to rebound to twice the area of Los Angeles. Experts believe such recovery is not possible anymore.

Lake Poppo is now down to 2% of its former water level, according to regional government. 75% of species are gone from the lake while more than 100 families have sold their livestock and left their boots and fishing nets. According to government officials, at least 3,250 people have received humanitarian aid. 

Drought caused by the recurrence of El Nino is considered the main driving force behind the lake’s evaporation. It is also believed the mismanaged water recourses and tin mines also contributed to its deadly demise.

“Something could have been done to prevent the disaster,” said local leader Angel Flores. “Mining companies have been diverting water since 1982.”

The government has declared the area a ‘disaster zone’ but have not done enough to make the area substantial again. Temperature has gone up to 1 degree Celsius but mining activities have deprived its share of water. According to a report, Poppo received 161 billion fewer liters of water in 2013 than required to maintain equilibrium.

After the lake’s disappearance, thousands of local fisherman are picking up and moving to a new city in Bolivia or any other South American country. 

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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