Solicitan a la ministra de Medio Ambiente que declare como sitios protegidos los humedales altoandinos del Choapa

Exigen a ministra de Medio Ambiente declarar sitios protegidos los humedales altoandinos del Choapa

Social organizations, alongside Deputy Nathalie Castillo and Senator Daniel Núñez, are urging the Chilean government to utilize the legal tools at their disposal to fulfil their commitment to protect the country’s aquifers.

The primary focus of this appeal is the protection of the high Andean wetlands in the Choapa province. A particular concern is the three streams – Los Piuquenes, Las Hualtatas, and Cerro Blanco, which represent the primary water source in the mountain range. Significantly, these streams are within the impact zone of the Los Pelambres mine.

This call for protection is backed by Senator Daniel Núñez and Deputy Nathalie Castillo, who are supporting a series of social organizations. They are urging the government to use the legal tools available to prioritize the protection of these wetlands against mining activities. Earlier in January, during a field visit to Las Hualtatas, the public affairs manager of Los Pelambres mine, Marisol Díaz, stated their commitment to protect this sector.

The aim is for the Minister of Environment, Maisa Rojas, to establish these aquifers as priority protected areas under the institutional framework of the new Service of Biodiversity and Protected Areas. Julio Molina, a leader of the Cuncumén communities, emphasized the importance of using this resource to protect Los Piuquenes, Las Hualtatas, and the Cerro Blanco area. These three areas are the main life source for the Cuncumén river. Molina added that it is crucial to properly protect these water sources, which have been significantly affected by the exploitation of the Los Pelambres mining deposit. A significant number of families living from agriculture in the area are increasingly affected by the diminishing river resources.

In the same vein, Senator Daniel Núñez stressed the importance of the Ministry of Environment exercising its powers and new prerogatives to protect crucial sites for water, and more broadly, for life. He emphasized that the high Andean wetlands contribute to keeping the rivers in the Choapa province alive. The senator is urging the Minister of Environment to ensure the government fulfils its commitments and protects these high Andean wetlands.

Deputy Nathalie Castillo echoed these sentiments, stating, “We urgently call on Minister Maisa Rojas and the government to keep their promise of protecting these high Andean wetlands that safeguard our water resources, basins, and ensure sustainability and development for small irrigators and peasants”. She added that they would initiate actions again in the Commission of Water Resources of the Chamber of Deputies to demand the government and the minister to enforce this protection.

The preservation of these high Andean wetlands and the aquifers they feed is not just an environmental issue, but also a socio-economic one. It affects the livelihoods of local communities who rely on a healthy and sustainable water source for their agriculture. The government’s commitment to protecting these areas will be a significant step towards securing the future of these communities and the environment. By using the legal tools available, the government can ensure that mining activities do not compromise these vital water sources, balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability.

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