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Lake Titicaca set for long-overdue major cleanup

South America's largest lake is set for a major cleanup. After years of uncontrolled pollution affecting the cross-border lake, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has announced construction of 10 treatment plants.

Peru Bolivien Titicaca See Grenze Bedrohter See des Jahres 2012 (AP)

"We continue working for all Peruvians," the 78-year-old said. "We want all Peruvians, those from the High-Andean Plateau, the jungle, the Andes and coast to have clean water at home. We also want drains not to pollute," he expressed.

Kuczynski made the announcement on Friday during a visit to the lake, the highest navigable lake in the world, spanning a length of 190km and width of 80km. 

Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (picture alliance/dpa/S. Silva)

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

Kuczynski said the plants that will be built on rivers emptying into the lake will cost $437 million. He stressed that ultimately the project would directly benefit over one million people and their well-being.

The rapid expansion of towns and factories near the lake has contributed to runoff that has turned once-crystal azure waters a murky green and destroyed the livelihood of thousands of fishermen.

Each year, some 750,000 tourists visit the 12,470-foot-high (3,800 meter-high) lake.

Along the shores of the lake that lies on the border of Bolivia and Peru, the water has a weird foam layeron the surface.

Besides contamination, the lake might have another problem to face. In November 2015, neighbouring Lake Poopo in Bolivia dried out.

jbh/kl (AP, EFE)

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