Instagram influencers get sick after turquoise lake turns out to be toxic dump

Bombs away: A reckless Instagram user plunges into Monte Neme in Spain.

Bombs away: A reckless Instagram user plunges into Monte Neme in Spain. Photo: Instagram

Poor old Instagram influencers. First they lose their ‘likes’ and thus their method of self-validation last week, then they can’t tell a turquoise lake from a toxic dump.

Some Insta users have taken suffering for their art to new levels by flocking to the otherworldly Monte Neme ‘lake’ in Galicia, Spain, to dive in or pose next to for next-level photos.

“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost,” posted Cristina Balan in June, hanging lakeside with her dog.

Lost or sick? Trouble is the turquoise lake – like many influencers themselves – isn’t what it looks like.

The calm and photogenic body of water is actually filled with hazardous chemical waste from a closed World War II-era tungsten mine, according to The Telegraph.

The mine was once used to produce an iron manganese tungstate mineral used to make filaments for light bulbs.

More than one influencer has been hospitalised for “damage to the skin and digestive system” after swimming in the water, reported Spanish new outlet Publico.

Another photo-hungry tourist who took a dip told Publico she broke out in a rash that lasted two weeks, and suffered bouts of vomiting.

Even brief exposure to the toxic water would probably cause eye and skin irritation, Manuel Ferreiro, a doctor at the University hospital in nearby A Coruña, told European news site The Local.

More prolonged exposure and swallowing the water could result in a holiday souvenir of stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, Dr Ferreiro said.

The unlikely perils of Monte Neme have seen government officials urged by local activists to post warning signs, Fox News claimed. Creative warnings have been posted on social media:

But it’s hard to keep a determined Instagrammer from getting the shot they want. One named Uxía who braved the ‘lake’ told Publico that her rash was “a little bad, yes, but the picture was worth it.”

As noted by People, it’s not the first time social media users have fallen for the siren song of the old toxic waste dump/beautiful lake switcheroo.

Russian government officials warned tourists earlier this month not to be fooled by the ‘Novosibirsk Maldives’, a lake of bright blue water named for its likeness to the seas around the Indian Ocean holiday destination.

The natural-looking lake is so popular online it has its own Instagram account with over 150 posts showing tourists bobbing on the water in inflatable craft or on stand-up paddle boards.

But the Novosibirsk body of water is the result of a massive ash dump from a nearby coal plant and has the potential to hurt those who take a dip.

According to the power plant involved, the Siberian Generating Company, the pond is “not technically poisonous”, but visitors still shouldn’t take the plunge.

“This lake is not a natural miracle at all,” said the Moscow Times.

One local who took some happy snaps next to the water in June said she couldn’t smell anything weird in the lake, but still didn’t feel tempted to swim.

“The whole periodic table is in [there],” she said.

Holidaymakers looking for lakes which are both gorgeous and non-hazardous should think the Blue Lake in Mt Gambier, Peyto Lake in Canada’s Banff National Park and lakes in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.

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