Defending water can be deadly
The San Silvestre wetland provides drinking water to more than 190,000 people in the city of Barrancabermeja, Colombia.
It also provides a livelihood to artisanal fishers.
But the water is being polluted by the nearby Ecopetrol refinery, encroaching agribusiness (notably livestock that produce nitrogen, phosphorus and pathogens), and landfills that can release toxins into the water.
Being a vocal advocate of these waters can be risky.
The visit by Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard to the San Silvestre wetlands this past weekend helped highlight these dangers.
Artisanal fisher Yuli Velasquez was shot at on July 5 (just days after she took PBI-Canada out on the wetlands on June 30).
It was the third armed attacked against Yuli since January 2021. She says: “Every time we report a new pollution problem, it happens.”
You can hear directly from her and two other water protectors as they talk about this struggle on Wednesday December 7 at 3 pm ET.
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