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According to statements by the president of the non-governmental organization Law, Environment and Natural Resources (DAR), Vanessa Cueto, there are more than 2,500 kilometers of rivers in the Peruvian Amazon that would be in environmental danger with the river project Hidrovía Amazónica, promoted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications of that country.
“The Hidrovía Amazónica project includes the provision of 2,500 kilometers of rivers in the jungle to make them navigable, and its execution is a concern because it is the first of its kind to be carried out in Peru, the first in which a dredging of the rivers without being clear about the environmental impact that this could cause ”, denounced the lawyer Cueto.
The project is part of the Integration of the South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA) and the concession was sealed in a contract in 2017, between the Peruvian State with the companies Construcción y Administración S.A. (Peruvian) and Synohidro (China).
With the Amazon Waterway, the Huallaga, Marañón, Amazon and Ucayali rivers are enabled, located in the department of Loreto (north), so that large vessels can navigate through their channels, in an area that is complicated for construction of routes.
Among the most worrisome impacts includes the realization of 13 “bad steps”, said the president of the DAR. It is called “bad steps” to the areas of the rivers in which the dredging of the river bottoms is going to be carried out, that is to say, removing soil from the bottoms to make it possible for ships with transport of goods or people to transit without risk of stranding.
“It is very worrying that the first project for a waterway will take place without the existence of a regulatory framework that assures citizens that their rights will not be affected. There are no specific regulations for environmental protection in the case of waterways, the entire framework is for roads. Regulations are pending on the issue of environmental enforcement, among other things, "explained the lawyer.
Cueto points out that due to the unprecedented nature of the project, two things can happen: that the impact on rivers and the species that inhabit it cannot be foreseen; and that, without a regulatory framework, the Amazon Waterway could set negative legal precedents for future projects of the same nature.
On the other hand, the president of the non-governmental organization adds that without yet being clear about the amount of dredging that will need to be done, the panorama deserves at least strict surveillance.
However, Cueto explained that as the project has not yet entered the execution stage, neither DAR, nor the indigenous organizations of the Amazon have presented anything in court to stop possible negative effects.