Two Peruvian communities win wastewater lawsuits


In Iquitos, children paddle through channel polluted by untreated wastewater discharges. (Photo by Barbara Fraser)

Residents of a rural town high in Peru’s Andes Mountains and an urban shantytown in the country’s Amazon region have won unprecedented court rulings ordering local governments to stop dumping untreated wastewater into rivers and provide safe drinking water and sewer service. The challenge now is to ensure the rulings are implemented. In July, the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s highest court, ordered a halt to the discharge of raw sewage along with slaughterhouse and hospital waste in a seasonally flooded area in the Punchana district of Iquitos, Peru’s largest Amazonian city. During the rainy season in Punchana, where neighborhoods have expanded in recent decades, hypodermic syringes and feces bob around the floorboards of houses built on stilts. In the dry season, children paddle canoes in a garbage-choked stream of raw sewage. With no city water or sewer service, residents must buy containers of water, which they supplement with rainwater, and... [Log in to read more]

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