Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Protest in Panama against the construction of an oil terminal on an island

Protest in Panama against the construction of an oil terminal on an island

Several environmental organizations demonstrated Thursday to ask the Government of Panama to reject a project to build an oil terminal on Isla Boná, located in the Panamanian Pacific and considered a sanctuary for seabirds.

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"It is practically the last refuge that migratory seabirds have left in the Gulf of Panama because all the other islands have been concessioned for ports and hydrocarbons projects," explained the president of the Environmental Law Association, Donaldo Sousa. .

The island, of 74 hectares and located near the Panama Canal, is a unique ecosystem where thousands of seabirds come to nest and reproduce each year.

On March 27, a pro-government deputy presented a bill to declare the island a wildlife refuge, as several organizations have been demanding for months, among them the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), one of the most important centers in the United States. United.

"The economic development of the country can not be at the expense of the environment, with this project a few win and we all lose," said the director of the Tortuguias NGO, Sandra Álvarez, in statements to Efe.

The Panamanian government authorized this week the lease for 20 years of 34 hectares of the island to the company Bona Pacific Corp (BPC) for the construction and operation of an oil terminal of high draft, which requires an investment of 260 million dollars.

The terminal would supply fuel to the thousands of vessels that use the interoceanic canal, through which 6% of world trade passes and more than 1,700 ports are connected in 160 countries.

The demonstrators, who were concentrated for a couple of hours at the gates of the Ministry of Environment, shouted slogans such as "Boná does not sell, Boná defends himself" and carried posters in which you could read messages such as "Talar forests is also corruption" or "There is no planet B".

"In Isla Melones and Taboguilla, two islands near Boná, studies show that the construction of oil terminals has seriously affected marine life, and corals live with chronic pollution," said the lawyer of the Environmental Advocacy Center of Panama (CIAM). ), María Gabriella Dutarti.

The work includes the construction of a 50-meter floating dock, a heliport and eight tanks with a capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil each, according to the company's website.


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