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Community in Ecuador punished for trying to stop alleged palm oil pollution

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

| by Alianza periodística tras las huellas de la palma | 4 February 2022 |

| Translated by Sydney Sims |

“When the company moved in, the contamination arrived with them,” said José Mina, the leader of San Javier de Cachaví.
“We used to drink the river’s water and nothing happened. Now the children bathe and get pimples and their bodies itch.
The fish arrive here dead.”

Residents of the community of San Juan de Chillaví use the river near their village for bathing and drinking water. Image by Alexis Serrano.

San Juan de Chillaví residents also say that the wildlife on which they depend for food has disappeared as habitat was cleared for plantations.

According to Nathalia Bonilla, coordinator of Acción Ecológica’s campaign to protect forests, this is “the perfect example of a two-faced state, which on the one hand has legally and economically promoted the palm oil industry, but on the other is incapable of demonstrating that it is concerned about or at least does its job of controlling the industry’s environmental and social impacts.”

These issues aren’t isolated to San Juan de Chillaví. The road to San Juan de Chillaví also leads to other rural villages: Nueva Esperanza, Guabina, Barranquilla, Chillaví del Ceibo and San Juan de Chillaví. The villages are comprised of small homes made of wood or brick with zinc roofs.


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