Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Tourists have long flocked to Bolivia’s vast salt flats to witness a haunting land and its famed pink flamingos. This was once a huge prehistoric lake, but the waters dried up long ago. The barren flats cover 11,000 square kilometres here, with the bright white salt gleaming in the hot South American sun.
You can still experience Salar de Uyuni and its unique attractions. But there can be no question that this fascinating corner of Bolivia is living on borrowed time.
The threat comes from lithium, used to make batteries, and electronic gadgets and devices, with one hundred million metric tons of the rare metal buried in Bolivia. This means the land might need some digging on an industrial scale and, with artificial lakes, laboratories and machines littering the landscape, Salar de Uyuni’s unique appeal is beginning to disappear. Thinking about paying a visit? You’d better make it soon.