Illegal fracking waste dumps are wreaking havoc on Argentina’s Patagonia region. Indigenous groups are suing some of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies for harming the environment in their ancestral lands.
The Mapuche Confederation of Neuquen filed a lawsuit against Exxon, Total, Pan American Energy (partially owned by BP) and Treater Neuquen in December.
Members of the Mapuche community spoke about their concerns near Anelo in Neuquen Province on Thursday. Drone footage taken in the area shows a fracking waste treatment plant owned by Treater Neuquen, which treats waste for these energy companies.
“Nearby we have a landfill that is completely polluted,” resident Mariela Mancilla told Ruptly. “The companies discard everything in the land and then cover it once it’s there.”
An illegal open-air dump the size of 15 football fields, owned by Treater, is only 5km (3 miles) away from Anelo and close to water supplies.
“All the soil they cover is soaked in oil, all that goes to the rivers, when it rains, so we fear the water is contaminated 500 times more than what is allowed,” she added.
Jorge Nahuel, co-ordinator for the Mapuche Confederation of Neuquen, told Ruptly that the garbage dump installed just last year is already “saturated,” and that local residents can’t get guarantee it will be able to hold all of the waste produced by fracking.
Locals are well aware of the problem, he said, “because we suffer when we turn on the water tap.”
“There are skin problems, there are problems in the nervous system, cancer tumours that are growing in the population,” Nahuel explained.
Greenpeace has accused the corporations of flaunting regulations and of conducting “environmental vandalism.”
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