Sep 14, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – An Ecuadorian court has ordered an end to the flaring practice in that country affecting some 447 flares in the country located in the Amazon Basin.
This much is documented in a March 9, 2021, Editorial by Antonio José Paz Cardona, a Mongabay Correspondent, which reported that Ecuador’s court ordered an end to 447 gas flares by the oil industry in the Amazon.
This order was geared chiefly toward the Orellana and Sucumbíos vicinities respectively; these vicinities were predominantly affected by most of the flares in terms of health and environmentally-oriented impacts.
Cardona denoted that Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer, represented nine girls who had petitioned for the elimination of flaring by the oil industry to burn off natural gas for the aforementioned vicinities.
Apart from the girls, the lawyer also represented the Union of People Affected by Texaco (UDAPT).
He avowed that the Ecuadoran state allocated a surplus of “US$600 million on gas imports” and the judges noted that eradicating flares would cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions “by at least 24 percent.”
Moreover, UDAPT and Clínica Ambiental (a project of the Centre of Studies and Social Action) recorded 251 cancer cases within Orellana and Sucumbíos collectively.
According to the editorial, both organisations asserted that 71 percent of such cases entailed women. The Indigenous petitioners and plaintiffs, via the editorial, implied that “the impact of the flares violated their rights to water, health, food sovereignty, and a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.”
The petitioners also mentioned that, “the flares had negatively impacted the health of residents, contaminating the rainwater that was their only source of clean water.”
Family members developed health issues such as cancer and some have even died as a result of immense smoke from the flaring. Reference was made to the Chevron-Texaco area, which had its first commercial well in 1967.
According to the editorial, there was a rejected injunction on May 7, 2020, against the Ecuadoran Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources as well as the Ministry of Environment and Water.
After which, the girls filed an appeal with a second ruling that was postponed five times. This was because the Court claimed that no studies had established the flares’ adverse impacts. However, on January 26, 2021, a successful Sucumbíos Provincial Court ruling corroborated that the petitioners’ rights were ignored by the Ecuadoran State for a “healthy and ecologically -balanced environment” free from the devastating effects of the oil flaring.
However, Cardona’s editorial further mentioned that the state disapproved of the lawsuit by arguing that it would undercut Ecuador’s economy, since it would be detrimental to the oil business.
Nevertheless, Fajardo made clear that the lawsuit was only attributed to the eradication of flaring but not for the deferral of oil drilling.
Another lawyer, María Espinosa, with the NGO Amazon Frontlines, implored that the eradication of flaring will reduce the prevalence of associated diseases such as cancer and also mitigates the burden on health care services in the Amazon.
However, she also stated that she hoped reparations will be accompanied by health care for more than 250 of the Indigenous cancer victims recorded by the UDAPT and Clínica Ambiental organisations.
She further substantiated this by claiming that this phenomenon gave rise to the fact that the Ecuadorian State has breached international protocols that go against climate change.
She urged that getting rid of flares would require new alternatives and the gas could be allocated for domestic use, reinjection and power generation in oil facilities.
Furthermore, the editorial asserted that communities are hoping that another court ruling is established so as to compensate residents of Orellana and Sucumbíos.
Ultimately, the petition’s objective was to stipulate “cleaner technologies in the most oil-intensive area of the country.”
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