Thousands of dead fish have mysteriously washed up along the banks of a major river in Guatemala. The series of incidents has disrupted the lives of those who depend on the river for their livelihood and there is fear of environmental damage to the forest.
In fact the United Nations has called the massive fish kill at the La Pasion River an ecological disaster.
But what is killing the fish and who is responsible?
Correspondent Harris Whitbeck travels to Sayaxche, Guatemala to find out. He tells us the United Nations and many residents suspect an African palm processing plant in the area of being the cause. The UN stated the plant had been in violation of environmental regulations. Now the plant has been shut down.
Guatemala is a country with numerous rivers and lakes. Fresh water is one of its most important natural resources, especially for the residents who rely on fish from the river and lakes for food. Not to mention cooking and cleaning. But since the year 2000, much of the land in northern Guatemala has been acquired by palm oil plants. Palm oil is used by manufacturers as an ingredient in many household and hygiene products including detergent and shampoo.
Harris questions whether it’s fair to put the blame for this potential “spill” on palm plantations. Another theory is that contamination may have occurred as a result of drug labs in the jungle pouring chemicals into the river.
Take a trip with Harris Whitbeck to a little-seen part of Guatemala and learn more about what he discovered.