Peru: Using GPS equipments, photographs and video recording, Peruvian indigenous communities are mapping scars left by 40 years of oil drilling in the Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto. They are getting support from Environmental Monitoring Program created by the Federation of Native Communities of the Corrientes River (FECONACO).
Since FECONACO began implementing the programme in 2006, 120 leaks have been documented. So far, FECONACO has compiled 22,500 digital files.
Achuar indigenous people, the Quechua Indigenous Federation of the Pastaza River (FEDIQUEP) and the Federation of Native Communities of the Alto Tigre River (FECONAT) comprise more than 40 inspectors who travel up and down these three river basins. Together, they discovered environmental liabilities in northeastern Peru that even the government had not detected, and hence are not available in official records.
A fourth organisation, the Cocama Association for the Development and Conservation of San Pablo de Tipishca (ACODECOSPAT), will soon replicate the initiative in the Marañón River basin to fill the large void left there by the government.
After four decades of oil drilling in Loreto, Peru has not managed to compile a complete and up-to- date registry of the environmental liabilities created by this industry in the region, much less in the rest of the Amazon region and the country as a whole.
Some 9,000 abandoned oil wells have been documented, mainly in the northern area of the country. More than 6,000 were improperly sealed and represent some type of environmental impact. Of the total, only 300 of the abandoned wells recorded are in the rainforest, engineer Jorge Villar from Peru’s energy and mining investment regulator, OSINERGMIN, told Tierramérica.
The government has made very little progress in locating abandoned and poorly sealed wells in the rainforest. As a result, “we are doing what the authorities should have dealt with a long time ago,” Sandi commented to Tierramérica.
Through their monitoring and documentation efforts, the indigenous leaders succeeded in capturing the government’s attention. A parliamentary delegation visited the area earlier this year and prepared a report on the situation.