11 May UK environmentalist raises the alarm to support children’s right to fresh air
23rd February 2020 – immediate release
UK environmentalist raises the alarm to support children fighting an oil company deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Environmentalist Nicola Peel will be supporting nine children (aged between 7 and 14 years of age) this week who live in the contaminated province of Sucumbios in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they take the Government to court in an action of protection.
The landmark case is against the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Resources ( he state-owned Petro Amazonas) and the Ministry of the Environment.
The children are demanding the government stop all gas flares in their villages which contaminate the air they breathe in the Amazon.
Ms Peel, from Pulborough in West Sussex, is in the Ecuadorian Amazon researching the effects of the oil industry on the environment and indigenous people. She accompanied the nine children who handed in the legal demand to the courts to stop their activities. Local lawyer Pablo Fajardo will represent the children when the case goes to trial this week (February 27th) and she will be there to help their children get their voices heard.
Pablo Fajardo has been the lead lawyer in the case against Chevron Texaco for the last 17 years in one of the largest David v Goliath cases ever trialled. He is now supporting the children in their claim.
“This story needs to get out to the world. We must speak out about the climate emergency we are experiencing and challenge the oil companies and governments who are allowing this to continue. These young children are those who are most affected. They have amazed me with their knowledge and have been speaking eloquently about how unfair the flares are and the serious effects on health in their families,” said Ms Peel.
Ms Peel has footage that shows flames containing methane gas erupting out of pipe (in a process called off-gassing’) just metres from an oil wellhead in the middle of residential area of Shushufindi with virtually no protection for children and their families.
In the video she says “This is how dangerous oil activities are off-gassing in the middle of the city just like this. This is an explosion waiting to happen.”
During oil exploration each phase has its environmental impacts. Off-gassing is a by-product of the oil industry and one of the main contributors to climate change.
There are 447 gas flares in the Ecuadorian Amazon including 79 active flares within the Yasuni World Biosphere Reserve (deemed the most biodiverse area on Earth).
The flares contain methane and sulfuric acid which is responsible for acid rain, heavy metals, radioactive substances and hydrocarbons. This contamination is not only affecting the local people but has been shown to travel for 300 km. When there’s torrential tropical rain the flares can be put out which means they continue sending out unburnt gas, which is even more dangerous.
The impacts on the local people are devastating producing one of the highest cancer rates in the world, especially children, respiratory problems, severe headaches and skin complaints.
The contamination of the air also means the rain and the agricultural crops are affected as well with a huge impact on biodiveristy. Thousands of insects die every night in the flares attracted by the light.
Ms Peel has been working in the Amazon for decades to help find solution to the destruction and damage of the environment caused by the oil industry.
Contact Nicola direct for more information and to speak to the children.