Residents Flee Toxic Foam

I talk about chemicals and pollution, the stuff you can’t see in water and food and air. But there are some places, I kid you not, where the pollution is so bad, you have to run from it!

A woman flees from toxic foam by her house. Authorities have warned locals against getting too close to the foam. Photograph: Luisa González/Reuters

‘The Smell Is Terrible’: Toxic Foam Clouds Float Through Streets Of Bogotá Suburb, The Guardian, 28 April 2022

A vast blanket of foul-smelling toxic foam has overflowed a polluted river near the Colombian capital Bogotá, covering homes and businesses, and sending residents fleeing from cloud-like fragments as they drift through the streets.

“The smell is terrible – [and] we’ve had to put up with this foam for a long time,” community leader Luz Mariela Gómez told local television channels. “We’re running a risk. Someone could fall down there and we won’t be able to find them.”

Photographs from the residential suburb Mosquera showed immense drifts of pungent foam burying pavements and towering over residents. One road to a school was blocked.

Local environmental authorities said that the polluted foam – which has been seen in the town several times over the past few years – is increasing because of people dumping waste, chemicals and detergents into the river system. Heavy rains have added to the problem.

“It is important that children are kept away as we do not yet totally know what this material is,” Edwin García, a government environmental official, told local radio station Caracol.

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