The Amazon, between fire and oil

Colombia registered 24 fires in recent days and in Peru there was an oil spill

The Amazon, between fire and oil

"Criminal networks" behind the fires in Colombia

In Colombia, Guaviare is one of the entrances to the Amazon. Through this department  the forest is reached from Bogota. In the last week, authorities have registered 29 forest fires that have endangered not only biodiversity but the entire population. That is why the Colombian government should have declared public calamity in the municipalities of San José del Guaviare and El Retorno. The Environment Ministry also issued restrictions on use of chainsaws and burning oil.

According to the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, Luis Gilberto Murillo, the National Prosecuting Authority is advancing the necessary actions to prosecute those responsible. "With the support of the Rainforest 22 Brigade, they were captured 5 people who have already been judicialized and the prosecutor has a special team to respond to this emergency, as well as some administrative measures by the corporation to very specific cases".

The head of the Colombian environment portfolio recalled that "it is necessary that local and regional governments to activate their contingency plans and strengthen their preventive actions, as we have been reiterating since December". "The country has to handle these seasons preemptively and we can not let our guard down", Murillo Urrutia insisted.

 

The authorities hope that with the arrival of the rainy season in the area, the zone will be wet and fire outbreaks reduced as there are still 2 active fires in the area of San José del Guaviare, capital of the department.

Omar Franco, director of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) of Colombia said: "We are going through the season less rain for the Caribbean and Orinoquía are normal periods of low rainfall and heat wave we have there is While important and significant". He said the IDEAM will continue to monitor hot spots via satellite throughout the country. The consequences of the loss of the Amazon, not only affect the region of Guaviare but everywhere throughout Colombia and its commitments to the Paris Pact. Local newspaper El Tiempo warned that these fires and take 4 months and have affected 20,000 hectares near San Jose del Guaviare.

 

The consequences of the loss of the Amazon, not only affect the region of Guaviare but everywhere throughout Colombia and its commitments to the Paris Pact. Local newspaper El Tiempo warned that these fires and take 4 months and have affected 20,000 hectares near San Jose del Guaviare.

 

Another oil spill in Peru

According to the Agency for Assessment and Environmental Control of the country in the last few hours, a leak in the pipeline known as Oleoducto Nor Peruano (ONP) caused an oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon. This new spill was registered near the indigenous community of San Pedro, in the region of Loreto, the largest department of Peru, which borders southern Colombia, northwestern Brazil, and eastern Ecuador.

The motives or those responsible for the disaster are still unknown. For its part, the government oil company, Petroperu (who is in charge of the pipeline), and warned that it was caused by strangers.

The Peruvian Amazon has been suffering regular oil spills that end up affecting rivers, fauna and flora. Even 2 years ago, spills forced to stop the flow by the ONP for about 1 year. During 2017, six spills occurred in different districts of the Peruvian Amazon; this has caused hundreds of indigenous communities in the area protest by the constant spills and ask the government to be consulted before making oil exploitation in the Amazon.

It is precisely the main native communities affected by these disasters that often (but not every time) are because of "vandalism" as the government calls it. They are also indigenous who often end up doing the cleanup.

 

Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Translated from "La Amazonía, entre el fuego y el petróleo"

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