Technical assistance to design an environmental monitoring program for Persistent Organic Polluants (POPs ) and Heavy metals in the Lake Yojoa, Honduras

Environmental sciences
Autumn 2006


Institution: Centro de estudios y control de contaminantes (CESCCO)
Address: Bvd. Morazan, frente al Central de Bomberos, Tegucigalpa
Phone: 00 504 239 0194 / 232 6317
Direction: Dra. Mirtha Ferrary
Colleagues: Dr. Alex Padilla, Lic. Julio Merida, Dr. Katania Sierra


Institute: Institut des sciences et technologies de l’environnement (ISTE)
School: Environnement Naturel, Architectural et Construit (ENAC)
Address: ENAC – ISTE – GE, station 2, 1015 Lausanne
Phone & Fax: Tel : & Fax :
Direction: Dr. Luiz F. de Alencastro


Lake Yojoa is the only lake in Honduras, it is located in the center of the country with a surface area of 89 km2. It is an important natural reservoir for drinking water and irrigation as well as a source of wide variety in biological richness. The Ministry for natural resources and environment of Honduras (SERNA) decided to establish a system of environmental indicators to survey the state of the entire Lake ecosystem. This system will allow the quick intervention of the authorities in case of important changes in the established parameters. CESCCO, as member of SERNA, will be in charge of establishing these indicators.
The “seed money” from EPFL will allow a small support by ENAC-ISTE to the work of CESCCO. The idea is to help them to cover the part of the study on the impact of some micropollutants coming from mining, agricultural and domestic activities in the Lake Yojoa ecosystem.
The proposed study will provide a tool base information to develop an assessment of the levels and trends of some compounds as organochlorine pesticides (DDT and metabolites, aldrin, lindane), and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) as well as heavy metals (lead, cadmium, copper, mercury and others) in the lake environment.


  • Poltera N. (2005). Desarrollo de un sistema de indicadires ambientales para Honduras. Projet de master, EPFL-ENAC-ISTE-CECOTOX, 74 pp.
  • Gächter D., Mérida J., Becker van Slooten K., Tarradellas J. (2004). Evaluación de la ecotoxicidad de un efluente proveniente de la industria minera de Honduras can la ayuda de una bateria de bioensayos. Contaminación, ambiente y salud, No. 6, pp 19-34.
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