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HomeCosta RicaCrucitas Water Crisis Escalates Amid Mercury Contamination

Crucitas Water Crisis Escalates Amid Mercury Contamination

Residents of the Crucitas region are enduring an escalating water crisis. On Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Mary Munive, sounded the alarm, confirming grave concerns about the potability of the water supplied to these communities, which is posing serious health risks.

A core issue complicating the situation is the lack of adequate infrastructure. Munive shed light on the gravity of the matter.

“Communities in Crucitas rely heavily on artisanal wells. In the absence of formal aqueducts or ASADAS (Community Aqueducts and Sewerage Systems Administrative Associations), this approach cannot ensure a safe water supply,” she explained.

Recent evaluations have highlighted the severity of contamination, particularly the presence of alarming mercury levels. “While constant testing for mercury provides insight, what’s essential is the development of a steadfast aqueduct system,” asserted Munive.

Mercury, even in minimal amounts, is toxic. Prolonged exposure can lead to severe neurological and behavioral disorders, with afflicted individuals showing symptoms ranging from tremors and insomnia to memory loss, neuromuscular effects, cognitive impairment, and motor dysfunction.

Beyond the looming infrastructure challenge, there’s growing trepidation about the potential health fallout. “During my field visit, I was struck by the absence of standards to gauge mercury poisoning. In response, we’ve instituted a rigorous monitoring protocol,” Munive noted.

Addressing the pressing situation, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and the Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) are rolling out an emergency measure.

Alejandro Picado of the CNE remarked, “Our plan involves procuring two double-traction tankers to distribute water. However, there’s an inevitable delay until they’re operational on the ground.”

The water woes of Crucitas have been thrust into the spotlight, especially since February 24th, following numerous reports that associated the contamination to illicit gold mining activities in neighboring mines.

The dire state in Crucitas, where 250 families do not have access to clean water underscores the pressing need for both immediate relief and long-term solutions.

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