THE BLUE LAKE GLITTERS, BUT IS IT REALLY GOLD?
The Kara Kara Blue Lake in Linden is doubtless beautiful. But is it a “Death Trap” as some have called it? Rising up from the depths of poorly covered mining pits, the lake sports an uneven and unstable foundation plagued with quicksand and sinkholes that precipitate strong underwater currents. The possibility of landslips occurring underfoot and swallowing a person up is relatively high. Several persons have already drowned in the lake, and many have reported a near death experience.
The Guyana Government, working in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority, reported in November 2021 that it has plans to turn the Kara Kara Blue Lake into a major tourism product. As part of the events for Tourism Month in November 2021, Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Oneidge Walrond joined stakeholders at the location where it was agreed that coordinated and targeted action will be taken to develop the site further.
Despite an independent 2019 report to the contrary from the University of Guyana, the Ministry of Tourism quoted the words of one of its stakeholders, who is also an engineer, that the water is safe.
Deon Anderson, a Chemical Engineer by profession and the proprietor of Elite Kayaking and Nature Tours, assured that the waters are safe. He has been doing a series of tours at the blue lake in recent years. “As a chemical engineer, I have always ensured the safety of the water,” Anderson told the News Room. He said the water has been tested both locally and internationally and has been found to be in compliance with international standards for recreational activities.Source: Newsroom
Over the years, there were several concerns raised about over-acidity in the water and the risk it poses to the health of those venturing off into the waters. This pushed the authorities in the area to halt swimming in the waters, but that decision was later reversed. According to the Minister, this is because independent studies were allegedly done on the water that showed that the water is safe for leisure activities.
“We have had an independent study done of the water, as well as a study conducted by GWI, Guyana Water Authority. They have certified that the lake is safe for recreational activates. So, we would not have been reckless enough to say that it is safe when it’s not. We do have studies to back it up.”Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond
However, an assessment conducted by a group from the University of Guyana, which was published in June 2019, stated that the Kara Kara Blue Lake is acidic with a mean pH value of 3.1 which is not within the acceptable range for recreational waters. Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the International Water, Air & Soil Conservation Society (INWASCON), the Report (posted below) details the findings of a study conducted by the group in February 2018.
The Report shows that mean concentrations of Al (23.06 mg/l), Fe (10.56 mg/l) and Mn (2.4 mg/l) also exceeded acceptable limits. Nevertheless, TDS levels measured were within the acceptable limits.
The study published by Informa UK recommended that the water be treated to bring it to a safe standard before allowing recreational activities. In addition to that, building a sound foundation should be a priority.
In conclusion, this publication believes that the Kara Kara Blue Lake is relatively unsafe, and people, especially children, should not be allowed to go into the lake.
In the video below, citizen Kevon Lorrimer shares his knowledge of the Kara Kara Blue Lakes in Linden, Region 10.