In spite of a nationwide lockdown, British police have flagged reports of tourists visiting a photogenic former limestone quarry.
In response, the Buxton Police force revealed it had dyed black the normally opulent, yet unnatural, bright blue waters of the Harpur Hill Quarry (nicknamed the ‘Blue Lagoon’).
It follows last week’s move by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban residents from leaving their homes to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
At the time, Johnson – who has now tested positive for the virus – said: “If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the power to enforce them.”
In a Facebook post, the Buxton Police revealed it had responded to reports people were congregating at the Blue Lagoon, flouting the government mandate.
Yesterday we received reports that people were congregating at the ‘Blue Lagoon’ in Harpur Hill, Buxton. No doubt this…
“No doubt this is due to the picturesque location and the lovely weather (for once!) in Buxton,” the police said.
“However, the location is dangerous and this type of gathering is in contravention of the current instruction of the UK government.”
According to the Buxton Police, this isn’t the first time it has had to dye the disused quarry’s unnaturally blue waters black, with the service authority using this as a regular tactic to reduce anti-social behaviour.
It noted that it has never been so important to discourage these types of gatherings.
“With this in mind, we have attended the location this morning and used water dye to make the water look less appealing.
“Please stay at home.”
Despite its beauty, officials say the lagoon has a dangerously high pH of 11.3, as reported by BBC News, and is filled with a potent cocktail of toxic chemicals. Bleach, by comparison, has an approximate pH of 12.3.
Signs around the lagoon reportedly warn tourists that the water contains cars, dead animals and trash. As a result, police regularly dye the water to prevent people from swimming in it (although, you’d have to be mad to try that).
The move by the Buxton Police comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK continue to rise.
According to the country’s Ministry of Health, as of Sunday, of those hospitalised who tested positive for COVID-19, 5,373 have died.
On Twitter, PM Johnson revealed he would write to every UK household to urge them to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
“We know things will get worse before they get better,” he said in the letter. “But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 28, 2020
In other destinations around the world, tourists are flocking to similarly abandoned mines and chemical dumping sites with unnaturally beautiful water.
This came at the risk of tourists to a blue Siberian “Maldives” lake, last year, which was found to be a chemical dump site.