A few tourists have ruined the scenery for everyone.
Kazakhstan’s Lake Kobeytuz is one of the only lakes in the world with pink water. The color comes from algae called Dunaliella Salina. Although, it is usually gray, every few years it becomes pink again.
“Specialists and experts say microorganisms and algae invaded which gave a pink tint to the salt and since then our Lake Kobeytuz has become famous in Kazakhstan,” Battal Ibrayev, the Ereymentau District’s deputy head, told the Associated Press.
However, tourists have been flocking to Kobeytuz this summer due to a social media conspiracy. Some tourists believe the lake can help prevent Covid-19.
“For some reason, people believe that this mud is curative and protects against COVID, as well as, the salt also protects against COVID. Although there is no expert or data analysis about this,” Ibrayev said.
These misinformed tourists damaged the vulnerable lake by digging up mud and salts with their hands and shovels. Other opportunists have started to sell salt from the lake online. A local doctor said that using salt from the lake actually poses more health risks.
“It is not cleaned,” Dr. Tolkyn Bataeva told the Associated Press. “And secondly, you do not know how it was collected, where it was taken, how it was stored. Here there is a risk, on the contrary, of contracting some kind of bacterial infection, because you are rinsing your mouth with it and this can bring harm, not benefit.”
Ibrayev said it would take a whopping 10 to 15 years for the lake to recover from the few months of destruction. To prevent further damage visitors have been banned from the lake altogether.
“The ecosystem of the Lake Kobeytuz and Teniz, which is located nearby, is so fragile, these are such fragile ecological systems, biological and biochemical structures,” he explained.
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