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Ecuador Law Suit and ClearWater

In 2012, Ecuador won an $18 billion lawsuit against Texaco/Chevron for polluting the Amazon and destroying the health of indigenous peoples who depend on the rainforest and river. It was the biggest environmental lawsuit in history and a very hard-won victory. However, the battle is far from over as the river has not been restored. Instead, ClearWater has introduced a novel way to provide clean water for drinking and cooking for the indigenous peoples of Ecuador.

Amazonian Tribes Try Harvesting Rainwater After Oil Drilling Polluted Their Water says:

"...last year an Ecuadorian judge ordered Chevron to pay a total $18 billion to a group of 30,000 indigenous people, represented by a coalition of lawyers from Ecuador and North America. While lawyers fight in international courts for oil companies to pay up, the people in the Lago Agria area are living in one of the most polluted pieces of land on the planet. Oil is still being extracted from the area; some locals work for the industry. But a new project is ensuring that these communities will have access to clean water, despite the pollution that surrounds them.
 

ClearWater has already installed 70 rainwater-harvesting systems in villages that border the Agua Rico river. Four tribes are working to coordinate the installations—picking which sites will be first in line for the systems, putting them in, and training families to maintain them. And this week, with support from international NGOs like the Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch, the group launched a campaign to raise awareness, but more importantly, funding. The ultimate goal is to raise at least $2 million.

The harvesting systems that ClearWater is using were designed specifically for this area: They have a filtration layer that targets the heavy metals that pollute the area, Anderson says. And the group is going to be doing tests on the water to make sure that it is clean enough to serve as drinking and cooking water—which would be its primary use.

 

While collecting and filtering rainwater can keep these communities healthier, it won’t fix the long-term pollution problems the area faces. ClearWater is working with Engineers Without Borders to assess how best the $2 million they hope to raise could be used and to look at the possibilities for larger projects that would filter river water or create clean wells."

Juan Flores Salazar

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