Lake Coatepeque El Salvador Emergency: What You Need to Know!

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Apr 10th, 2024

The Salvadoran Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) declared an emergency in Lake Coatepeque, due to the contamination caused by cyanobacteria.

The emergency measure is set to remain in effect for 12 months, to avert potential natural disasters and alleviate public health concerns stemming from the proliferation of cyanobacteria in the lake.

Lake Coatepeque’s environmental situation has generated a series of consequences that affect not only the lake’s ecosystem but also the communities surrounding it and the agricultural activities that depend on the lake.

“The Lake Coatepeque emergency decree seeks to guarantee the ecological preservation of this body of water,” stated MARN in its X social media account. The authority’s goal is to guarantee the ecological preservation of the Coatepeque Lake.

Exposure to toxins released by decomposing cyanobacteria can have a variety of negative health consequences, such as irritation to the skin, eyes, and throat. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and headaches.

Coatepeque Lake is a popular destination in El Salvador with locals and foreigners. You can visit the lake during this emergency, but you should avoid getting into the water.

SEE ALSO: Lake Coatepeque: Beautiful Volcanic Caldera in El Salvador

The Salvadoran Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources shared some restrictions, which you should consider if you visit the lake.

These restrictions entail no water usage, fishing, consumption of lake water, or discharge of wastewater into the lake. It is also recommended to avoid recreational activities in the lake.

The environmental deterioration observed in the lake area has been caused by factors such as increased temperatures and the presence of nutrients from human activities such as agriculture and irrigation, which has led to the uncontrolled growth of cyanobacteria.

Cyanobacteria contamination represents a serious risk to the lake’s biodiversity and raises the possibility of an imminent environmental disaster.

Salvadoran officials have unveiled a range of initiatives to tackle this environmental crisis, including cleaning the lake to eliminate cyanobacteria, purchasing equipment, and building water treatment systems.

The emergency decree started on April 5, 2024, and will last 12 months; however, authorities have noted that these dates can be modified.