In a pretend conversation written in Una Hoja de Papel, a child asks his grandfather what Guatemala's Lake Atitlán—Central America’s deepest lake—was once like. "It was very beautiful, crystal clear waters, you could see through the waters to the pebbles on the shore," the grandfather recalls. "It was once nominated as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The couples chose this destination to spend their honeymoon. Undoubtedly, an enigmatic place of quiet waters and unparalleled splendor." "But, what happened?" the grandson asked. "Simple, we stood idly with our arms crossed," the grandfather said.
Today Lake Atitlan—located within an hour’s drive of Antigua—is drowning in a film of green scum. NASA pictures taken just a few weeks show the lake as massive swirls of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria that, besides looking ugly and foreboding, literally make the lake stink. A result of long-term, excessive pollution.
The situation has gained attention from international media and local publications like Prensa Libre and The Revue. The lake even earned the unfortunate distinction the “Threatened Lake of the Year 2009” by the Global Nature Fund. But is it human pollution or an environmental imbalance that has caused the lake to enter a coma and possibly an impending death?