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Peru: 80% of beach pollution comes from contaminated rivers

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Peru has plans to build 20 landfills in the country by the end of this year. Is that enough to save beaches, rivers, and the population’s health?

About 80% of the contamination that reaches Peruvian shorelines comes from polluted rivers carrying debris and trash, according to a study published in Publimetro by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).

The study found that every day, 50 tons of trash left by municipalities ends up flowing down the rivers and streams that eventually make their way down to the Peruvian beaches. This trash makes up 80% of contamination found on beaches today.

The NGO, Vida, is calling on the Peruvian government to create laws that promote sustainability and sanctions to prevent the situation from continuing. President of Vida, Arturo Alfaro, told Publimetro that residents, businesses, and entire communities that throw out their trash without the proper municipality infrastructure to manage it are the primary problem.

For example, the trash that is not picked up in the districts of Olivos, Puente Piedra, and Carabayllo ends up in the Chillon River and there, it is swept up by the waves onto the shores of the beaches of northern Lima, says Alfaro.

The Ministry of the Environment released a similar report last year that said more than one thousand tons of daily domestic waste is not picked up by the municipalities and is left in the streets of Lima. This became a devastating issue for many districts after Christmas season finished and gift wrappings caused health warnings all over Peru.

Considering this problem, that is only growing exponentially at the moment, Alfaro is calling on the Commissions of Andean Towns, Amazonas and Afroperuvians, Environment and Ecology, to investigate the issue to create a legal framework to eliminate the issue of waste contaminating the environment.The trash left by municipalities of Peru ends up in rivers and eventually to the ocean.

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Hillary Ojeda

Hillary moved to Peru in August of 2014 to learn Spanish, live with her family, and pursue writing. Born and raised in Bakersfield, Ca, Hillary earned her B.A. in Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. Since moving to Peru she drinks fermented potato and coca concoctions daily and is enjoying learning about the abundant and natural andean foods of the country. Hillary hopes one day to become an investigative journalist. You can follow her blog.