Cocaine production polluting Peru rivers, says government

June 5th, 2009 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Lima, June 5 (EFE) Peruvian drug syndicates dump nearly 15 million litres of harmful chemicals into the rivers in the Amazon region annually, causing large-scale destruction of the fragile ecosystem, an official said.
Over two-dozen chemicals, including solvents and acids, are dumped into the rivers after use by the cocaine production laboratories, causing widespread pollution, Lucio Batallanos of the counter-narcotics department said Thursday.

The dumping causes “an unprecedented destructive effect on the soil, water, biodiversity and human population”, he explained.

Batallanos said that some 2.5 million hectares of jungle have been deforested to sow the coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, while the government spends a huge sum of money, about $1,500, for reforestation of just a single hectare.

The logging and burning of forests have resulted in the large-scale destruction of flora, fauna and microorganisms that formed an important part of the life cycle, he noted.

According to an UN estimate, Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of cocaine after Colombia. Europe is the main destination for the Peruvian-produced drug.

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