We at FUNDECI/GAIA celebrated World Water Day March 22 with the Nicaraguan government and civil society at the Masaya Volcano National Park. The people present represented the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MARENA), the Ministry of Health (MINSA), the Nicaraguan Water Company (ENACAL), members of the municipal governments of Masaya, Nandasmo, Nindiri, and Masatepe, and many people from non-governmental organizations, including FUNDECI and the Indigenous community of Monimbo. Our focus for this day was Lake Masaya, a marvelous but tragically contaminated volcanic crater lake inside the Volcano Masaya caldera. We spent the morning with local schoolchildren, observing the fish and water of the lake, and in the afternoon, we participated in a forum discussing the situation of this lake.
|Solid waste from surrounding communities collects along the waterline in Lake Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.|
Lake Masaya receives inconceivable quantities of liquid and solid waste. Hundreds of gallons of polluted wastewater from Masaya pour into Lake Masaya each hour, and trash enters from communities in several directions. The lake is filling in from sediments and solid waste, and the fish are dying in large numbers. The incredible scenery of this lake from a distance is ruined by the shoreline littered with plastic and the putrid water.
Nicaragua has so many great sources of water, and so many of them have been destroyed. Lake Managua, also known as Xolotlan, is terribly polluted, but once was a source of drinking water for Managua. Tiscapa, like Lake Masaya, receives overwhelming quantities of municipal runoff and garbage with each rain. Nejapa went completely dry recently. Lake Apoyo is still beautiful but facing enormous quantities of trash from visitors.
|Volcano Masaya National Park Director Liliana Diaz and a local youth admire a fish from Lake Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.|
|Members of MARENA, the local community, and staff from FUNDECI/GAIA debated the dilemma facing Laguna de Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.|
|Jeffrey McCrary demonstrates the varieties of fish inhabiting Lake Masaya to members of the government and civil society on World Water Day.|
|Lilian Diaz, the Director of Volcano Masaya National Park, shares with the public on World Water Day.|
|Lake Masaya as seen from the Santiago Crater of Volcano Masaya.|
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