The disappearance of Bolivia's Lake Poopó at the end of 2015 initially attracted a lot of international media attention. While Bolivian media delved into the variety of determinants for the disaster, including mine pollution, irrigation diversions, and climate change, international coverage tended to zero in mostly on the latter, such as in an outstanding New York Times visual essay linking the disaster to broader processes of climate displacement.
But there's just so much more to discuss about the issue, and that's why I find the article on Lake Poopó by Laurence Blair, published today in the Guardian, so helpful. First, it provides much-needed follow-up to an issue that mostly disappeared from international attention but that, as Blair makes clear, hasn't really improved in any significant way and continues to affect thousands of people. And second, the article discusses the broader picture of what pushed the lake over the edge, and what is keeping it down, including ongoing mine waste discharges, which really haven't been brought under control, and the ineffective application of lake restoration funds through the Cuenca Poopó program from 2010 to 2015.
I'm glad to have been quoted in the article but remain dismayed that this situation hasn't improved. Even if the long-delayed projects to get pollution under control in the Huanuni River prove to be effective, shifts in the climate will probably make it difficult to restore water to the Lake Poopó basin.