Troubled waters

INDUSTRIAL pollution in Peru's Paracas reserve area is leaving beaches littered with thousands of fish rotting under clouds of flies. Under threat is the country's major national sanctuary -- Paracas, an important stopover point for many of the world's migrating birds. Contamination problems started some years ago with the ministry of fisheries allowing the construction of many fish-meal factories in the region. Wastes from these factories found their way into the sea, causing a lack of oxygen in the water, killing all forms of life and interrupting the natural cycle.

A law passed 3 years ago making it obligatory on the factories to install waste treatment plants and retain all solid waste and potentially hazardous material has been conveniently ignored, citing prohibitive installation costs. While industrialists keep campaigning to postpone the closing date for installing these plants, the stink goes from bad to worse.