Peru: coca economy destroys rainforest

Nearly two million hectares of forest in Peru have been destroyed in order to grow coca, the country’s Environment Minister Antonio Brack said in a Lima Dec. 28. “The traffickers invaded protected areas and cleared forests for land to grow coca,” the minister said, adding that most of the damage has been done in the jungle regions of San Martín and Huanuco, and in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, known as the VRAE region. Drug trafficking also hurt the environment by dumping chemicals into rivers. “The illegal trade has had a very strong impact on the environment,” Brack told the official Andina news agency. “We can help restore forests and improve environmental systems in the drug zones, once they are pacified.” (IANS, Dec. 29)

Colombian environmental authorities recently raised similar claims.

See our last post on Peru.

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