Chira Valley produces etanol despite people’s lungs.
Cambia a español.
– The ethanol industry seems to be bringing more problems than
bennefits to Lower Chira Valley.
with a controversial sales agreement that became to involve Regional
Government of Piura’s (GOREPI as in Spanish) top officials,
going through vinase spreading like science teacher Simon
undisclosed, La Huaca (pronounce “La Waka”) Districts’s
population (Paita County, Piura State) started to claim of sugarcane
stubble burningsome years ago.
the few visibility what became to produce a car accident with
casualties, people are claiming the procedure puts their health on
risk although they could not prove it clinically.
Chira’s ethanol comes from sugarcane, crop that is being
internationally displaced by less polluting alternatives like jatrofa
bush what grows almost wild across Piura and even used as fence for
two companies initially operating the business were Maple Ethanol and
Empresa Agrícola del Chira. The first one bankrupted and sold
its assets to Grupo Gloria, one of the Peru’s five more
powerful renaming it as Agroindustrias Aurora. The second one has
divided in two companies at least, according to GOREPI, for
controlling each phase of biofuel production - Caña Brava
being the most remarkable.
a long time it was belief Maple was related to vinase waves, those
became to spread in Sullana
about 20 km to the East from its plant. In its own, Caña Brava
has been involved in many accidents by trucks carrying its raw
production – persons and donkeys had died under their wheels
plus stubble burning.
times, companies promised before GOREPI and population the burning
was going to disappear, although they did not specify when exactly.
Inclusive, there are claims about the water they use to irrigate
their fields is leaking to neighbor properties becoming to flood.
last Summer, where Caña Brava has its plant, Ignacio
District (Sullana County) people protested because ponds it uses had
been almost overflooding due to constant rains.
have not recognized responsibility but they accused their suppliers
over those they deny much control. Plus, it has been recently
revealed they can make something called controlled
as it is featured on their Programs of Adequation to Environment
(PAMA as in Spanish), a legal tool discontinued two decades ago to be
replaced by environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
GOREPI’s Natural Resources Office, the term controlled
PAMAS are a true enigma, so they are going to request an explanation
to Ministry of Agriculture, what seems to allow them.
manager Ronald Ruíz noticed that EIA first versions the term
not mentioned neither featured anywhere because there is already
technology for undoing residues, undergrowth and pests persistent
after sugarcane cutting off.
their hand, population has accused ethanol industry for polluting the
air. Penal Code of Peru’s article 304th
defines it “… that infringing laws, rules or allowed
maximum limits, provocates or make downloads, spreadings, toxic gases
spreading, noise spreading, leaks, sheddings or polluting radiation
in the atmosphere… will be repressed by jail not less than
four years, not more than six years, and 100 to 600 fined days.”
(Translation is ours.)
the trick comes in two levels: setting legally allowed limits and,
once gotten, being on the right time and place with a previously
legally validated monitor and proefficient experts who survey (also an
practical terms, it implies having a technical-legal crew available
around the clock to attend inmediatly just reported a burning. And if
detected and not to be dismissed, an Express court order what allows
to intervene private property just in ccase, what complicates much
more any legal repression trial, so giving tranquility to population.
simultaneity and speed seem to fail on this issue, an alternative
could be studying effects once proven they are linked to sugarcane
1991 and 1992, Yolanda Hernandez conducted a study
on people nearby sugarcane cropfields in Aragua
(Venezuela) where it was also burned after cropping. She found a
relative connection between the procedure and prevalency of
what did not allow her to link totally cause to effect but actually
left several indications those could be validated in long term.
to that objection, Piura’s ethanol industry could allege Aragua
State is mostly mountains and cold weather with 25°C average
temperature and populations living between 300 and 1000 meters
altitude, in valley lowlands, what allows to concentrate smoke
particles more efficiently.
Chira surface is mostly flat without significant elevations. 40 to 60
meters altitude range, 28°C average temperature. Aragua Could
look like Quiroz or Upper Piura Valleys for good, but less hot.
all influence area’s health posts must have an updated record
of acute breathing infections per year and specified by epidemiologic
weeks. Adding to data verification, medical Experts Could be alert
before breathing ways inflamation, cough, difficult breathing and
bronchuses or lung alveoluses and lobes obstruction.
problem is although GOREPI and La Huaca Municipality have summoned a
multi-sector teamwork board to solve the issue, Piura’s
Regional Bureau of Health neither Luciano Castillo’s
Under-Regional Bureau of Health do not appear anyway.
learns that GOREPI ignores if Health officials have those updated
is joinned by Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Production,
Special Bureau of Environmental Watchdog, La Huaca Municipality,
Peru’s Ombudsman Office, GOREPI and communitarian leaders.
Peru’s Ombudsman has considered this issue inside its national
list of social-environmental conflicts, and seems to be working
closely to Environment Attorney’s office.
were announced on June 13th,
request for definitions, ddraw an action course, distribute
responsibilities and see if, in the end, La Huaca people’s
noses can breath cleaner and fresher.
reports by Radio Cutivalú and el Regional de Piura.
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