Thousands of farmers and villagers’ homes would be flooded
LIMA, Peru, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Waterkeeper Alliance and Marañón Waterkeeper released a video that takes viewers to tranquil villages on the floor of Peru’s remote Marañón Canyon, telling the story of how thousands of farmers and villagers’ homes would be flooded if planned dams are built.
A related petition Marañón Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance released in September asking Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra to save the Marañón Canyon and protect its people has so far garnered more than 4,000 signatures.
The planned Veracruz and Chadin II dams would block a portion of the upper-middle Marañón, flooding a 320 kilometer (198 mile) stretch of river. The projects have faced intense local opposition from villagers and farmers who would be displaced if the dams are built.
The dams, if built, would not only destroy the Marañón Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon, they would also irreparably harm the Amazon River. If you were to travel up the Amazon from its mouth and choose, at every junction, the channel with the largest average flow, you would arrive at the Marañón River.
The Marañón plays a key role in the flow of sediments into the lower Amazon Basin, as well as the migration of fish, an important source of food for hundreds of thousands of people. The migration of those fish would be blocked if the dams were built. The flooding would also destroy caves with priceless and irreplaceable ancient pictographs.
A legal analysis released in July by the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, in partnership Marañón Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance, found that environmental impact assessments for two planned dams had expired. Since the assessments are no longer valid, the companies will not be able to deliver promised power by the contract deadlines in 2023. At that point, the Peruvian government will be able to cancel the contracts, stopping these dangerous projects before they’re built.
The groups call on the Peruvian government to begin reviewing contracts to halt the dams now.
They also call on Peru’s President, Martín Vizcarra, to save the majestic Marañón Canyon and begin planning for a future that includes sparing villages from devastating flooding that would come from the dams’ construction, creating a sustainable tourism industry, and protecting ancient rock paintings that are an irreplaceable part of the nation’s cultural heritage.
Thousands of local and indigenous peoples depend on Peru’s pristine, wild ecosystems, so the nation must make decisions about using its natural resources in a way that ensures development is sustainable and based on sound public participation processes.
The Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA, la Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental) is a leading conservation organization with 33 years of experience promoting conservation and sustainability through policies and laws. SPDA’s approach is characterized by the balanced and informed use of environmental law in the interest of the public, while working closely with both government agencies and civil society, including indigenous groups, as well as the private sector. spda.org.pe
Marañón Waterkeeper is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to protect and promote the Marañón River. We unite, educate, and empower people to address the major issues that threaten this watershed. maranonwaterkeeper.org
Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 350 Waterkeeper groups around the world, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. The Waterkeeper movement patrols and protects over 2.75 million square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. For more information, please visit waterkeeper.org.
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