Pollution turns one side of divided Paraguayan lagoon purple

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A road divides the Cerro Lagoon, where the water at right is colored and the Waltrading S.A. tannery stands on the bank, top right, in Limpio, Paraguay, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. According to Francisco Ferreira, a technician at the National University Multidisciplinary Lab. who is taking water samples at the site on Wednesday, the color of the water is due to the presence of heavy metals like chromium, commonly used in the tannery process. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

LIMPIO, Paraguay — The Cerro Lagoon in the Paraguayan city of Limpio is sharply divided into two parts: one purple, one blue. One part emits a foul odor, the other doesn’t.

The lagoon was split by construction of a roadway to carry trucks to and from local factories. Several months ago, residents began noticing that the water on one side of the roadway was changing color, they went to local environmental authorities who took water samples.

A technician at the National University Multidisciplinary Lab said Wednesday that the color of the water is due to the presence of heavy metals like chromium, commonly used in tanning animal skins to produce leather.

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