Ecuador launches ‘floating islands’ to clean up polluted bay

(ORDO NEWS) — About three million people live on the shores of the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador, and for decades they have dumped tons of garbage into the water, which turned the estuary of the Guayas River into a stinking swamp.

Now ecologists are hoping that purpose-built “floating islands” with special cargo on board will help them clean up the dying bay.

The Gulf of Guayaquil is one of the most densely populated places in Ecuador: in its upper part, on the banks of the Gua Yas River , the country’s largest seaport is located , and about 2.8 million people call this place their home.

However, such a large number of people, many of whom live in extreme poverty, inevitably leads to severe pollution, and today the shores of the bay resemble a garbage heap filled with garbage and excrement.

The government of the country has already made several attempts to clean up the stinking waters of Guayaquil, but despite the efforts of people and millions of investments, the situation is still deplorable.

Now environmentalists have decided to use a different method and launched biodegradable “floating islands” with live cargo on board.

More than 200 red mangrove seedlings were delivered to the bay on ten wooden platforms tied with banana peel rope.

In four months, the seedlings should form primary thickets, and people hope that the mangrove trees, which can absorb pollutants, will be able to clean up the waters of Guayaquil. In the future, they are going to constantly monitor the level of harmful substances in the water.

This project is not just an attempt to save the bay, but also a potential way to prevent another environmental disaster.

In the place where people have placed the “islands”, the water is literally teeming with harmful bacteria that breed in sewer water. These microorganisms pose a serious threat to human health.

Ecuador launches floating islands to clean up polluted bay 2
Ecologists carry “islands” through water black with mud

Of course, people do not pin all their hopes only on mangroves: in parallel, efforts are being made to populate the bay with seaweeds that can also purify water, and new treatment facilities are being built.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but environmentalists hope that someday Guayaquil Bay will become the same as it was half a century ago – a place where fishermen calmly fished, and children splashed in crystal-clear water.

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