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With no oil cleanup in sight, Amazon tribes harvest rain for clean water

27 / 12 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador — Nemonte Nenquimo covers her face and squeezes her eyes shut as a pungent whiff of petroleum hits. She’s digging with a pole into an unmarked lagoon of sticky crude in the middle of the jungle. A lifetime in Ecuador’s most pristine rainforest has left her ill-prepared for the harsh odor to which most of humanity has become accustomed. A 33-year-old indigenous Waorani from Ecuador’s southeastern Amazon, Nenquimo says her home territory has so far narrowly escaped the intrusion of the country’s growing oil industry. Her intimate knowledge of the Amazon’s biodiversity makes her visit to her fellow native people’s oil-polluted territory here in the forest surrounding Lago Agrio, the capital of Ecuador’s northeastern Sucumbíos province, all the more poignant. Nemonte Nenquimo, right, and Flor Tungay cover their faces as the smell of disturbed crude oil rises from a polluted swamp in the rainforest outside Lago Agrio, Ecuador. Image by Dan Collyns for Mongabay. The Siona, Secoya and Kofan nations have been living with oil in this area for several generations. They are among the 30,000 plaintiffs in a huge class-action lawsuit against the U.S. oil giant Chevron, a case that recently marked its 25th year. The case is about one of the world’s most notorious environmental disasters. The U.S. company Texaco Petroleum was active in the region between the mid-1960s and 1992. During that time it produced, along with a lot of crude, more than 68 million cubic meters (18 billion gallons) of toxic waste water loaded…

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