Illegal mining within the National Park Huascaran destroying Nevado Tocllaraju

I n the past we have reported on this topic before but it seems that the situation only has gotten worse. Vision Informativa reported yesterday that today’s illegal mining contaminates hundreds of hectares in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca. This is poisoning the rivers and streams of the Peruvian Andes range and the regional and local authorities seem to do absolutely nothing to stop it.

The Huascaran National Park counts with an extension of 340,000 hectares and is considered as one of the emblematic natural resources of Peru, however, it is seriously being affected by the increase of illegal mining activities at the base of the Tocllaraju. The Tocllaraju is located at the Quebada Onda, close to the Puranracocha Lake at 5,000 meters above sea level. This protected area has suffered the devastation of massive areas that in fact are destined to the tourist activities.

In this same area, illegal miners extract gold, copper, lead and zinc and use heavy explosives and artillery to destroy the glacial mass of one of the most beautiful mountains in the Cordillera Blanca.  No need to say that the excavation and contamination are causing serious alterations to the local ecosystem. It is estimated that the Cordillera Blanca houses more than 50 illegal camps with the aim of depredating natural resources in this area.

The efforts to eradicate the plague of illegal mining may be called hopeless or have been insufficient thanks to incapable authorities, such as the Public Ministry, the National Police, Ancash’s Regional Energy and Mines Division and the National Park Huascaran itself. As a matter of fact, Illegal miners have caused so much damage, that at certain parts the streams have coloured brown, and are now containing heavy materials and toxic substances which flow directly in the already polluted Rio Santa. Additionally, the glacial mass of the Tocllaraju is seriously affected by environmental pollution. If the corresponding authorities do not act with a firm hand, this peak might lose all its ice in only a couple of years.

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