Foreigners aboard Peru riverboat held in pollution protest


LIMA, Peru – An indigenous leader in Peru’s Amazon region on Friday said his community is holding 98 riverboat passengers – 23 of whom are foreigners – to ask the government for attention. to oil pollution claims.

Wadson Trujillo said the foreign passengers included German, British, Spanish and French nationals who were traveling along the Maranon River when the ship, the Eduardo II, was stopped by Cuninico residents on Thursday. He said all the passengers were in good health.

“We find ourselves obligated to take this measure to get the attention of a country that hasn’t paid attention to us for eight years,” he told The Associated Press by phone.

But he said the community would allow the boat to continue its voyage “in the coming hours”.

He asked the government of President Pedro Castillo to declare a state of emergency in the region to deal with the effects of oil pollution.

Trujillo said the oil spill in 2014 and again this September “caused a lot of damage” to people who depend on fish from the river as an important part of their diet.

“People had to drink water and eat oil-contaminated fish without any government concern,” he said.

He said the spill affected not only about 1,000 residents in his town but also nearly 80 other communities, many of which lacked running water, electricity or phone service.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health took blood samples from the area in 2016 and found that about half of the tests from Cuninico showed levels of mercury and cadmium higher than those recommended by the World Health Organization.

“Children have those toxins in their blood. “People have stomach problems — it’s something that happens every day,” says Trujillo.

The government made no comment on the holding of the passengers, who were en route from Yurimaguas to Iquitos, the main city in the Peruvian Amazon region.


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