By Jorge Toapanta Vera
The project does not foresee anything to prevent or remedy the contamination of our fish and crustaceans by irresponsible mining exploitation, salmon farms, industrial ships or bolicheros and other factors of contamination of the waters of the sea and rivers such as the garbage of the cities , untreated sewage, agro-toxins (fungicides, herbicides, nematicides, etc.) used in agriculture, waste thrown up by the industry that manufactures balance, sardines, sugar mills, African palm processors, slaughter of thousands of chickens and hens and more products.
Before the Draft Organic Law on Water Resources, Use and Use of Water, which the President of the Republic, by means of official letter No. T. 4644-SGJ-0-1998, dated August 26, 2009, has sent to the President of the National Assembly, Arch. Fernando Cordero Cueva, declare:
Bill does not guarantee purity or access to water
Seafood contaminated with mercury threatens the Ecuadorian people with cancer
Salt water or sea water
The sea is the final depository of all, absolutely of all the wastes that have been and have been, for this reason we consider that the cleanliness of the salt water must also be guaranteed in the Water Law that is intended to be approved. Why?
Because the shrimp farmer during the process of breeding shrimp in captivity in their pools uses the balance that is precisely made with fish meal in the factories that residents of the province of Santa Elena denounced as centers of great contamination.
It also uses fertilizers and other elements that pollute the water that the shrimp farm returns to the sea without any treatment. When fishing (taking out) shrimp for sale, the pools are "cleaned" with lime, barbasco (seeds that are ground after extracting them from the barbasco tree that especially believes in the islands) and that kills fish such as the so-called "millionaire ”, The“ feather ”catfish, crabs and more marine animals that the shrimp fish consider predators; In other words, the shrimp farmer does not want any species of fish larvae to remain in the pool that grows together with the shrimp and eats a part of the amount of pre-juvenile or juvenile shrimp “seeded” in his pool.
This contaminated water from the shrimp farms, when it is dumped, generally, into the estuaries or arms of the sea, affects the shells, crabs and fish that have their habitat in the estuaries of the sea or mangroves surrounding the coastal profile; This means that the fish and shellfish that are sold in the different markets of our cities have a certain degree of contamination due to the shrimp industry. Be careful, this is only part of the problem.
Industrial boats or bolicheros
The initiators of this depredation in the province of El Oro were people of Peruvian origin who came to the province of Orense for approximately 9 years, after in Peru they practically decimated the existence of fish from Puerto Zorritos to El Órgano.
Why do bolicheros boats decimate the existence of fish? Because in their industrial vessels they have adapted equipment with modern technology; In other words, they raise and lower their nets with a system called Macaco operated with the ship's machine; Besides that, they use equipment with waves connected to the satellite GPS system to locate the school or schools of fish. When casting their nets, despite being forbidden to do so within 8 miles close to the coastal profile, they destroy all species of animals, be they small or large; and once the machine raises the nets and drops them on the floor of the prow of the industrial ship, from the captured product they only catch the big fish and all the small ones, crabs, shrimp, they are thrown into the water but already dead; This predatory process is the one that kills our marine species. As the nets of the bolicheros can cover a draft (water depth) up to 22 meters and in the gulf's wetlands the draft (the water depth) is between 12 and 14 meters, these nets remove all the waste accumulated in hundreds of years on the seabed and with this they poison the sea water with the usual consequences of pollution.
Our small and traditional artisanal fishermen never cause this type of damage to nature because they only use harpoons, hooks and manually operated nets.
On the other hand, in El Oro we have permanent fish mortality, especially of the cachema species and lately the mortality of the chuhueco, a species of fish that lives on the edge of the mangrove, has become more present; The local fishermen, especially from the Bajoalto commune, accuse the EDC, which is the foreign company that extracts the gas from the Gulf, and the generator Machala-Power based next to the population of Bajoalto, of this contamination. Due to contamination of the waters of the sea, the small fishermen say that the fish they catch rot immediately even if they put ice on it, a fact that never happened before.
Contamination from mining waste
This is extremely serious. We have already marked the areas of contamination in the coastal profile adjacent to the Gulf of Guayaquil, specifically from Puerto Hualtaco (border with Peru) to Maturín, the mouth of the River Siete where the province of El Oro ends; from there the province of El Guayas begins and the contamination of the mining companies continues to be evident in the El Conchero port belonging to Tenguel, a parish of the Guayaquil canton; El Conchero port is located at the mouth of the Tenguel River, where in the thirties of the last century the gringos built a dock to remove the bananas in clusters from their great farm "Tenguel" (it has been more than 40 years that the gringos they were, but the pier still exists and is used by artisanal fishermen in the area)
Why the current pollution? Because the River Siete had its fish killed for 20 years, that river is dead due to tailings (mining waste concentrated with mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, cyanide, etc.), which are dumped from the mining settlements of Bella Rica belonging to to the jurisdiction of today's canton Camilo Ponce Enríquez (a town known as "La Ponce" so the locals get used to calling it, meaning in the past "the Ponce Enríquez parish" in the province of Azuay). The Gala and Chico rivers (their tributary) are thrown mining waste from the Mullullacu, San Gerardo, etc. sectors. located in the Shumiral area; the Tenguel River is the only one that is still somewhat saved, but the threat of contamination is increasing every day because all the mountain areas where its tributaries are born are concessioned to miners.
Continuing north of the coastal profile we find several rivers, among them, the San Pablo River, Balao, Cañar until we reach the Churute river (Churute reserve), whose water sources are in the Molleturo mountain range belonging to the Azuay province. . All these areas are contaminated by the beneficiation plants (mining) installed in this mountain range and which are polluting its waters.
In the province of El Oro
We have the Mollopongo mountain range in the jurisdiction of the El Guabo canton, whose limit ends in the Siete river. After passing the Jubones river that is born in Azuay in the Azuay cantons Nabón, Girón, Santa Isabel, Pucará, etc.), in this area, following the Pan-American highway towards Guayaquil, we have the Chaguana river (with its tributaries: El Colorado and Progreso), Zapote (with its tributaries: Sonador and San Jacinto), Bonito, Pagua and from there among the main ones, we have the Siete river. With the exception of the Seven, ladies and gentlemen, all the rivers recently mentioned flow into a single collector which is the Tendales, estuary or tidal river. This is wonderful because we have a fabulous basin, the Mollopongo basin, so close to the sea, whose waters flow into the Gulf of Guayaquil, the only one in Latin America, because no South American country has a gulf like ours because it is located in the middle of the torrid and affected zone. by the cold Humboldt current that at Cape Pasado veers towards Galapagos. The province of El Oro in its western part borders the Gulf of Guayaquil and therefore, on the seabed of its jurisdiction are located the so-called WETLANDS or reproduction sanctuaries of an infinity of marine species.
Unfortunately, when doing studies, we have the result that the levels of traces of mercury, arsenic, and lead are high in the waters of the estuaries of the sea where samples have been taken. That means that our shells, crabs, mussels and fish are contaminated and are contaminating all the families in Ecuador that consume these products.
Following the coastal profile to the south we have the Pital River, which is a large collector or estuary or tidal river, where the Santa Rosa, Negro River, Buenavista, Carne Amarga rivers, etc., all drain their waters from the Dumarí mountain range, where there are large mining settlements, because this geographic branch is connected to the mountain ranges belonging to Zaruma and Portovelo, ancestral mining centers. This area belongs to the Santa Rosa canton and one of the main miners of the place is Carlos Zambrano, current assembly member of the 35 list for El Oro, who spent large amounts of money to be qualified as a pre-candidate in the rigged primary elections they held, because his same colleagues denounced that to win he brought hundreds of people paying them $ 10 and in the campaign, as a candidate for assembly member, he ran an individual campaign spending another large amount of money.
We asked, what can Assemblyman C. Zambrano do to preserve the environment if he invested so much money to defend his interests and that of his partners, the miners.
Garbage from cities, untreated sewage, agro-toxins (fungicides, herbicides, nematicides, etc.) used in agriculture, waste thrown by the balanced food industry, sardines, sugar mills, palm processors Africana, the slaughterhouses of thousands of chickens and more products are other factors of contamination of the waters of the sea and rivers that we nowhere are regulated in the aforementioned Water Law Project under discussion.
Comrades, comrades, the Water Law does not foresee anything to prevent or remedy the aforementioned, when the problem of contamination of our fish and crustaceans by irresponsible mining exploitation is extremely serious, as it constitutes a PUBLIC HEALTH problem, because mercury, arsenic, lead cause cancer in humans, children cause cretinism, mental retardation and more distortions in their health; In addition, they cause irreversible liver diseases (cirrhosis of the liver), diabetes, arthritis, etc.
Jorge Toapanta Vera, Ecuador