People flee toxic foam filling streets after freak chemical reaction in river

People have been seen fleeing from "toxic foam" created by a freak chemical reaction in a nearby river.

Residents of Mosquera, a small town on the outskirts of the Colombian capital Bogota, have been forced from their homes after winds littered the streets with the foam.

The bizarre environmental phenomenon has largely been caused by detergents being dumped in the nearby Balsillas river, according to local authorities.

They say that the fast-moving waters of the Balsillas, exacerbated by a recent spell of intense rain, are also to blame.

Now, people in the area have been urged to be cautious with detergents to prevent more toxic foam forming.

Edwin Garcia, director of the Ambiental Environmental Laboratory, said: "It is important to clarify that one of the main generators of this foam is detergents.

"This is why the community and companies are asked to make very rational use of these products, which are the cause of foam generation.

"The contact with turbulent water and the high precipitations generate this phenomenon in the water."

This has actually been an ongoing problem for the people of Mosquera despite authorities building a wastewater treatment plant two years ago.

Locals are extremely concerned about the foam, not only with regards to their own health but also the knock-on effect that it has on their town and its businesses.

Luis Eduardo Romero, a local shop owner, said: "Health, that's the problem.

"The foam affects everything, for example foam falls on the doors and everything rots.

"How [bad] would it be with the food that we sell here."

Images from Mosquera show walls of shops and homes caked in the pungent white foam.

Some people have been seen desperately sweeping it from inside their homes, while other have abandoned their homes entirely.

The biggest accumulations of the toxic foam are said to be as large as some of the town's buildings.

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