Protests against crude production in Peru

  • 14/11/2006

Argentina's biggest oil facility and natural gas producer Pluspetrol has come to a standstill following protests by the indigenous Achuar groups in Peru, who say that crude production is contaminating their environment and damaging their health.

At least 700 people took over three oil wells of Pluspetrol in the second week of October protesting against environmental degradation and complaining that oil-related pollution is affecting their health and livelihood. Over three decades of oil drilling by Pluspetrol in the Camisea field, one of the biggest reserves in south America, is now contaminating the Amazon rainforest territories in the Loreto region near the Ecuador border, say local media reports. Nearly a million barrels of untreated toxic waste from the drilling is directly dumped into the rainforest every day. Protestors claim their health has been affected by pollutants, such as lead and cadmium, from the oil works. A survey by Peru's ministry of health too finds that cadmium levels in the blood of more than 98 per cent of the local Achuar people exceeded safe levels and more than 66 per cent of children had high lead levels in their blood. Protestors demand an immediate probe.