Volunteers Working To Clean Up Bolivia’s ‘Lake Of Plastic’

by : Julia Banim on : 18 Apr 2021 14:56
Volunteers Working To Clean Up Bolivia's 'Lake Of Plastic'PA Images

Local volunteers are working to clean up Bolivia’s Uru Uru lake, sometimes referred to as the ‘lake of plastic’.

The lake is said to now be more plastic than water, filled with debris such as discarded bottles, containers, children’s toys and car tyres.


The highland lake is based in the Oruro Department of western Bolivia, which saw a major drought back in 2016. This significantly lowered the water levels, all while rivers flowing into it deposited large quantities of plastic waste, building up over years.

On Wednesday April 8, hundreds of volunteers came together to collect waste from the lake’s surface, where the waters have also been contaminated by local industry and mining.

As reported by Reuters, 28-year-old volunteer Magali Huarachi said:


We are at this moment in a garbage dump, which we have caused since we are the destroyers of the planet. […]I am now in a lake, but made of plastic.

French social media influencer Alex Dessard was reportedly among those helping with the much-needed clean-up effort, stating:

It’s a shame that so much garbage has come here because it has accumulated in many years, perhaps a decade. Now we have to think about the future. Let’s clean and then we become aware so that we don’t have to clean again.

Uru UruPA Images

Limbert Sanchez, of the Center for Ecology and Indigenous Peoples (CEPA), told Reuters that the water levels of the Uru Uru had been reduced to approximately 25 to 30% of its full capacity, with urban and mining pollution having had a significantly negative impact.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Environment, Now


  1. Reuters

    'Made of plastic': Cleaning up Bolivia's Uru Uru lake