Toxic warning issues at Spain’s most instagramable turquoise lake

Experts in Spain have warned of the dangers of swimming in the “idyllic” turquoise waters of a Galician lake that has become a hit with instagramers.

Toxic warning issues at Spain’s most instagramable turquoise lake
Photo: Alexat25/Depositphotos

Instagramers have been flocking to the Monte Neme, a water-filled quarry from a disused Tungsten mine, to photograph themselves beside what appears to be crystal clear turquoise waters.

But experts have had to issue health warnings against entering the water, which have the vibrant colour because of chemical contamination.

The site, outside Bergantiños, in Galicia, a region in Spain’s northwestern corner was mined for tungsten, a chemical whichis used in the manufacture of light bulbs and for hardening steel.

According to reports, the material was mined during World War Two under order by General Francisco Franco at the behest of Hitler.

While the site has long been abandoned, it has become a recent tourist attraction popular, drawing instagramers keen to photograph its photogenic waters.

Some have even been tempted to enter the water.


But one recent visitor told online newspaper Publico that she came out in a rash and had itchy eyes, seconds after entering into the water for a photo shoot.

Medical authorities said prolonged exposure to the toxins in the water could cause seizures and even kidney failure.

“Brief exposure will most likely cause eye and skin irritation but a longer time in the water and digestion of the toxins could cause stomach problems, vomiting and diarrhea,” warned Manuel Ferreiro a doctor at the University hospital in nearby A Coruña.

Local lobby group Salvemos Cabana is calling on the regional government to limit access to the lake and provide warnings of the dangers.

READ ALSO: Eight of the very best Instagram accounts to follow in Spain

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Sewage washes ashore at Norway’s prehistoric World Heritage site

Faeces, toilet paper, wet wipes and cotton earbuds were among the sewage littered around the UNESCO site of the pre-historic rock art in Alta, northern Norway.

Sewage washes ashore at Norway's prehistoric World Heritage site
Prehistoric rock art at Alta, Norway.Andrew Arch/Flickr

The waste at the site of the petroglyphs, or rock carvings in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic circle was discovered during a beach cleaning day.

“When we followed the path down, we quickly saw that something was wrong. When we looked a little closer, we saw that were was faeces, wet wipes, Q-tips and tampons there,” Line Mårvik Pettersen told state broadcaster NRK.

“It didn’t smell. So, it clearly had been there for a while,” She added.

The sewage was lodged in seaweed that washed ashore.

There was a similar problem in 2011 when a sewage pipe in the same area became clogged; it is unclear what the cause of the problem is this time around.

“So far, we have not received clarity as to what the reason is,” Magne Opgåard said.

READ ALSO: Europe’s highest sea cliff amongst beauty spots which could become Norway’s new national parks 

The rock carvings date back to between 2,000 and 7,000 years ago and represent the only prehistoric monument in Norway. 

They were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The World Heritage site consists of four areas in Alta with petroglyphs. These are Hjemmeluft, Kåfjord and Amtamannsnes and Stortstein.

“We are a world heritage area, and our world heritage is one of the most beautiful things we have. This is Alta’s face to the outside world, so it’s clear that it’s very unfortunate that you get sewage washing up in such a nice area,” Anita Taipo, department head at the Alta Museum, said.

“Had this happened in the middle of the season in 2019, where we have up to 1,000 visitors in one day, it is clear that it would not have been fun to show this,” she added.

Work is underway in Alta to clear the roads of snow so the equipment needed to investigate the problem can be transported to the site.

The municipality will then clear up the affected areas.