Fuerza Chile! United for Clean Water
Join the next phase of the Fuerza Chile! Campaign with Save The Waves Coalition to help us fight for clean water along the amazing central coast of Chile. This coastal region suffers from the harmful byproducts from pulp mill manufacturing, which are directly dumped into the ocean. Unfortunately, scientific evidence that measures the extent to which this toxic industrial waste is impacting local habitat, wildlife, and people in this region of Chile is missing. This crucial data will help us to take a strong stand against polluters. Your contribution will fund vital water quality testing that will analyze water collected from the Itata River and in the ocean nearby the pulp mill's outfall pipe. The results from this testing will give us independent, scientifically valid evidence showing how pulp mill production impacts the coastal and marine environment.
This urgent water quality testing is a very important step towards protecting the coast and ocean in central Chile and building strong communities by giving them the tools to fight industrial pollution.
Save The Waves documentary All Points South (2009):
Save The Waves documentary Pulp, Poo, and Perfection (2007):
The Pacific coast of Chile provides habitat for some of the most special coastal and marine wildlife in the world and also provides a livelihood for many in nearby coastal communities. Its diverse wildlife includes a number of unique species of dolphins, whales, penguins, seals, sea lions and otters. The coastline is home to many fishing communities and small-scale agricultural farmers who make their living from the land and sea. The region between the Maule and Itata Rivers showcases some of the best surf on the planet and attracts surfers from around the world who enjoy its excellent waves and natural beauty.
Unfortunately, the south-central coast of Chile is also the heartland of industrial forestry production of lumber and kraft paper pulp. Chile's Maule and Biobío Regions are the most heavily used regions for industrial forestry plantations of pine and eucalyptus in the entire country. Celulosa Arauco y Constitución (CELCO) has a monopoly in forestry and pulp manufacturing in Chile and operates four large-scale pulp mill factories, including the Nueva Aldea plant near the River Itata and the Constitución plant. The toxic byproducts of pulp manufacturing are discharged directly into the ocean containing solid waste and harmful chemicals such as chlorine and organochlorine products like dioxin (a cancer-causing agent).
Two of CELCO's other pulp mill plants in Chile have caused catastrophic environmental disasters in Valdivia and Licancel. In Valdivia, a pulp mill plant was built near the city of Mariquina on the River Cruces upstream from the Carlos Andwater Nature Sanctuary, a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. The Valdivia plant was determined to be the cause of a massive die-off of one of the largest breeding colonies of the iconic black-necked swan, as well as other bird species. The Licancel plant's dumping of industrial wastewater resulted in the death of millions of fish in the Mataquito River.
In 2009, despite intense protests from local communities and environmental organizations, CELCO built a 50 km pipeline alongside the Itata River to discharge waste from the Nueva Aldea plant into the ocean. But the pipeline has had several engineering flaws, and many have suspected that it spills toxic discharge into the surrounding areas. This region near the Itata River is where fishermen catch the seafood that is a staple of this coastal community's diet. The Itata River also provides water for more than 40,000 small farmers.
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE USED
Funding from this campaign will go towards comprehensive water quality testing along the River Itata of the downstream of the Nueva Aldea pulp mill plant and in the ocean, near a discharge pipe. Water samples will be compared to results from a 2007 baseline study conducted before the plant went into full production mode. The testing will be conducted by qualified professionals at the University of Austral of Chile in Valdivia, in partnership with the Maule Itata Coastkeeper, the first Coastkeeper in Chile, which Save The Waves cofounded in 2009. Funds will specifically be used to purchase necessary equipment, to pay for the shipping and handling of samples, and to cover the costs of hiring researchers to conduct the water quality testing.
USE OF THE WATER QUALITY TESTING
- This water quality testing will give us an independent, unbiased and scientifically valid assessment of the level of contamination from CELCO's Nueva Aldea plant on the Itata waterway and the ocean. It will allow us to analyze the plant's impact on coastal and marine life, on the local communities who rely on the daily consumption of seafood for their diets and on the coastline areas that offer outstanding surf breaks, which are used recreationally by people worldwide.
- We will use this study in our efforts to hold CELCO accountable and to force them to change their practice of dumping toxic industrial byproducts into the ocean through our advocacy campaign and possible legal action against CELCO.
- We will also use the information to educate local families about the contamination of waterways, how they can minimize their risk of exposure, and how they can get involved with their communities in the fight for clean water.
Your contribution will help us to work towards clean water and strong communities in Chile. Read more about Save The Waves' Chile Program.