Anthropogenic Influence on the Water Quality in the Lake Poopó Area, Bolivia / Mänsklig inverkan på vattenkvalitén i området kring sjön Poopó, Bolivia
Mining in Bolivia has been an important part of the economy for centuries, particularly in the Altiplano area. However, the mining activities have a negative effect on both the environment and the health of the people living in this area. This study summarizes knowledge of the historical as well as current environmental condition in four river basins of the area north-east of Lake Poopó. Data from year 2001 to year 2013 was used. A field study was performed in June 2013. The concentrations of ions and heavy metals are close to or above WHO guideline values for drinking-water during the entire study period in the area in every sampling site. In the Antequera River, up to 95 % of the cadmium contamination could originate from anthropogenic sources such as mining. A clear trend for all four studied rivers is the constantly elevated concentrations of cadmium that is neither increasing nor decreasing up to June 2013. Future studies should include a toxicology research, a social study and a mining study. Measures such as restructuring mining organizations and building waste-water treatment should be implemented as soon as possible.