Pollution in an Egyptian lake is destroying livelihoods

STORY: This once-pristine lake in Egypt

is now filled with drainage water

Locator: Fayoum, Egypt

Qarun Lake used to be a lifeline

for fishermen in surrounding villages

But pollution from agricultural runoff and

industrial waste has destroyed the industry

(Ramadan Abdel Sattar Awad, Fisherman)

“I have worked as a fisherman after my father and grandfather. This lake used to be fine, but after the sewage drain was dumped in it, the fish seeds started to die, then no fish remained except for the very small fish like the sardine, this kind of fish doesn’t get any bigger or smaller and is neither useful nor harmful.”

A 2017 government study found

increased salinity in the lake

Another in 2020 noted higher-than-normal

contamination with metals

Work is underway to purify local sewage water

and cut the lake off from agricultural drainage