Town dyes toxic lagoon black to discourage swimmers

Aerial view of the toxic lake in Buxton, England, before it was dyed black, from Bing Maps.

An English town has dyed its blue lagoon black to warn people that it's actually a toxic mess filled with cars, carcasses and trash.

How do you convince people that an incredibly beautiful blue lagoon is actually horribly gross and toxic? Dye it black.

That's what the town of Buxton, England, has done to its blue lagoon, which, despite having some pretty obvious warning signs about its toxicity, attracted people who wanted to take a dip in it.

Atlas Obscura breaks down the dangers of the lagoon's industrial residue, explaining:

"In the case of the blue lagoon, calcium oxide, used as part of the quarrying process has left the lagoon with a pH of 11.3, compared to ammonia's pH of 11.5 and bleach's pH of 12.6. If that is not enough, the site has been used as a dumping ground."

Atlas Obscura reports that warning signs include: "Warning! Polluted water lagoon known to contain: car wrecks, dead animals, excrement, rubbish." 

Another says, "Warning! Do not enter water, due to high pH levels. This can cause: skin and eye irritations, stomach problems, fungal infections such as thrush."

According to Atlas Obscura, the black dye seems to be working.

"Disappointed weekend road trippers have been turning back when they spot the newly inky lagoon," it reports.

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