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Posted Tue Aug 31 2010: from TreeHugger:
Millions of Dead Fish Poison Bolivian Drinking Water
In the northern hemisphere, the winter of 2010 was notable for its unpredictability and extreme conditions. From East Coast blizzards to a devastating cold snap in Florida, cities struggled to to keep pace and entire ecosystems hovered on the brink of collapse. Now, as winter wears on in the Southern Hemisphere, Bolivia is reeling from uncharacteristically cold weather that is clearing entire watersheds of life. Bolivian rivers that normally run around 59 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year have dropped below 39 degrees Fahrenheit. This 20 degree drop has been enough to kill an astonishing number of fish and other wildlife. Already, an estimated six million fish have died. Michel Jégu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, commented that: "There's just a huge number of dead fish... in the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river." The exceptional quantity of dead and decomposing fish in the rivers has tainted the water supplies of several Bolivian towns and completely destroyed the livelihoods of fisherman living in the area. With bans now in place to protect the small populations of fish that remain, the economic recovery will be slow even after temperatures begin to warm.
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