Poisoned Amazon: Nothing Safe to Drink

The Amazon has more water than any other river in the world. Along its 4,049 mile length, 500 tributaries feed into it. Every day it produces enough water to meet the needs of New York City for nine years.

And yet there is a shortage of fresh, safe water. It is because the Amazon is being poisoned.

Chlorine, kerosene, sulphuric acid, mercury and cyanide are all pumped into this gigantic river network from mining and cocaine production.

You wouldn’t want to swim in it and you certainly wouldn’t want to drink it.

Our partner villages in Peru have no choice. Poison comes from upstream and there is nothing that they can do to keep the river water safe.

But there is a simple solution; tap into natural springs.

Last year Cool Earth supporters helped Cutivireni do just this. Linking the village to a natural spring 12 kilometres away has literally changed the lives for the villagers of Cuti.

Currently the women have a backbreaking walk of over a mile to gather water from the river. This not only takes them away from tending their families and food gardens but the water is contaminated.

Our plan is to provide a freshwater supply for Coveja’s families that also generates power and a source of food. Here’s how:

The water will be piped from a natural spring through a pico hydro system. This will generate power for lighting that means children can study in the evenings and the women can make their traditional jewellery.

The surplus water would then be passed through a new fishpond – oxygenating the pond. The fish would give the villagers a much needed protein source and stop them from eating the contaminated fish from the river.

Why not Rainwater?

With around two metres (ten feet) of rain falling every year in the rainforest, rainwater seems like the simple solution. There are two problems. The forest in the Rio Ené is experiencing extended periods of drought which was unheard of ten years ago. The second is malaria. Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for the mosquitoes that carry this debilitating and sometimes deadly disease.


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