Head HNP: ¨People responsible for fireworks in our park will be sanctioned¨

E ngineer Jesús Gómez López, head of the Huascarán National Park has spoken out on the detonation of fireworks during the arrival of New Year within the boundaries of the park. The chief of the National Service of Protected Natural Areas by the State (SERNANP) in Huaraz stated that they got informed though social networks and that the New Year´s Eve party organised at the Pisco Refuge was organised by Refugios Andinos ¨It was not the first time that they organised a certain event during the end of the year in our park, however, it´s the first time that fireworks were set off. As a result of the events occurred at the Pisco Refuge we have started a disciplinary administrative process. These are issues that we cannot allow within the park and the organisers are well aware that this should not be done. The case is under investigation and the responsible persons have received a notification and we´re waiting for an explanation.¨ The New Year´s Eve event had a cost of 100 soles per person although it remains unclear who set of the fireworks.

Additionally, Gómez López announced that on Monday the 15th, his office will organise a meeting to address the illegal mining at the Quebrada Honda, located in the district of Marcará within the province of Carhuaz and Huascarán National Park. ¨We will to come up with a work plan to battle illegal mining within the park.¨ The meeting, which will be held at the headquarters of the prefecture of Ancash, will count with the assistance of SERNANP, the National Peruvian Police, i-Perú, the Foundation for the Protection of National Parks led by lawyer Jorge Gonzales, the Ombudswoman of Huaraz, the regional prefect Alex Cordero Cuisano, a representative of the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Peru and some local and regional authorities. Due to the hostile and aggressive population of Vicos, who appear to be responsible for letting the illegal miners enter the Quebrada Honda area, this part of the national park has been heavily contaminated and forms a seven year lasting, unsolved problem that needs to be addressed most urgently.

In June of 2016, a special force of over a 100 policemen, accompanied by reporters of nationwide newspaper El Comercio, got past the Vicos community in search of illegal mining camps. Strangely, the police didn’t find any illegal miners during the search; they were probably tipped off by the Vicos community.  What they did find at an altitude of over 4,800 metres above sea-level were illegal mining operations. The small settlement counted with 15 small camps, 15 cabins, 200 meters of hose, and a sink hole. The Illegal mining operation seemed to have served around 150 miners who were apparently mining for zinc and lead primarily.

Author: Julio Benavidez
Photo: Refugio Pisco
Insert: Jesús Gómez López

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