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Iceland Mag

Limits might have to be imposed on the number of visitors to Mývatn lake

By Staff

  • Skútustaðagígar craters The Mývatn lake region is one of the most beautiful areas in Iceland. The ecosystem of the lake is on the brink of collapse, biologists fear, due to pollution caused by untreated sewage. Photo/Vilhelm.

The health inspection in North East Iceland might be forced to issue a limit on the number of travellers allowed to visit lake Mývatn. Conservationists have pointed out that hotels by the lake lack adequate sewage treatment facilities.

Growing numbers of visitors threaten lake
The number of visitors at the lake, especially hotel guests, has grown dramatically in recent years and now far exceeds the capacity of the local sewage treatment system, causing sewage to seep into the lake. Biologists fear that the ecosystem of the lake is on the brink of collapse.

Read more: Ecosystem of Mývatn lake under threat from inadequate, faulty sewage treatment by hotels

Since a building a treatment plant exceeds the resources of the local municipality, the state would have to step in. If the state does not finance the building of a new sewage treatment facility the number of visitors would have to be limited dramatically. A decision to place a limit on the number of visitors might have to be made already this summer ,the director of the Icelandic Environment Agency told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV.

Hotels, restaurants might be closed this summer
The agency which would have the power to limit visitors most effectively is the local Health Inspection. Its director explained it would simply close down hotels and restaurants to limit the stress on the ecosystem of the lake:

"This would be done by restricting or cancelling permits of businesses in the region. This would include hotels, restaurants and guesthouses which do not have their own perfect sewage treatment facilities which fulfill codes."

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