Fetid foam from polluted river plagues Colombian city


An immense layer of toxic foam has spilled and blown from a contaminated river into the Colombian city of Mosquera, often breaking into cloudlike chunks that drift with the wind along streets and into yards.

Environmental authorities blame discharges from an industrial zone as well as household detergents whip up the fetid foam in the city some 20 kilometres outside Bogota, the capital.

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Clouds of toxic foam rising from the Balsillas River float over the Los Puentes neighbourhood in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)
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A woman tries to avoid clouds of toxic foam rising from the Balsillas River in the Los Puentes neighbourhood in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)

Gonzalo Roa, who has lived in the Los Puentes neighbourhood for 40 years, blamed the contamination for causing respiratory problems in children.

“We’ve had many years of this situation,” he said.

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Clouds of toxic foam rising from the Balsillas River waft over the Los Puentes in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)
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Residents and dogs sit along a street, ignoring the foam from the Balsillas River in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)

The foam is usually created when a narrowing of the river or a bridge creates turbulence in the contaminated water, said Luis Alejandro Camacho Botero, an expert on environmental hydraulics at the University of the Andes.

He said similar problems exist along other rivers, including the Bogota River and warned they will bring public health problems if not controlled.

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According to local authorities, the white toxic foam is caused in part by untreated sewage mixing with chemicals found in household detergents in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)
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A blanket of toxic foam covers the Balsillas River in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)
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Clouds of toxic foam in Mosquera, Colombia. (AP)

Edwin García, director of the environmental laboratory for the Cundinamarca region, said authorities are trying to monitor and reduce the problem and have installed a water treatment plant.

Read the full article at: 9news.com.au


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