May 19, 2022

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Colombia |  The "pungent clouds" that invade Los Points and that can cause health problems

Colombia | The “pungent clouds” that invade Los Points and that can cause health problems

Clouds in the streets like a magical realism. However, there is nothing magical about what the inhabitants of the Colombian town of Los Points are experiencing these days.

This foam is actually a massive accumulation of pollutants from the Palacillas River, where sewage arrives from Bogotá, which is located about 20 kilometers away.

Although authorities say it is harmless, scientific studies confirm that prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems, especially in children. Los Pointes residents say they have these symptoms.

“The smell from this is unpleasant, the foam is damaging the facades of the houses, the bad smell is permanent, we have had health and respiratory problems,” says Oscar Arandia, a resident.

Stinky foam continues to grow, affecting twenty homes and the path to the community school.

“We’ve had this problem for many years, what happens is when it’s all winter, it grows on us, but no one listens to us,” says Flor Alba Rodriguez.

The Municipal Risk Office explains that foam forms because the river carries large amounts of organic waste and surfactants, such as detergents and other household cleaning products. It’s waste that is irresponsibly dumped in the sewers of Bogota and ends up here in Los Points.

“This is the product of pollution, this is the product of poor disposal of waste, which we talked about, in this case what the whole earth collects, such as materials, dead animals, as we throw out rubbish and grease, detergents, which generate all this pollution reflected in the foam,” explains Sergio Valero. , Office Manager.

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This phenomenon has been happening for several years, but the unusually heavy rainy season led to the collapse of the river with water laden with this waste. The authorities to eradicate the white epidemic mobilized a treatment plant.