EntertainmentEcuadorian court recognises Machángara River's right to be pollution-free

Ecuadorian court recognises Machángara River's right to be pollution-free

The capital of Ecuador, Quito, must stop polluting the river
The capital of Ecuador, Quito, must stop polluting the river
Images source: © @canva

10 July 2024 11:07

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has ruled that systematic pollution is violating the rights of the Machángara River, which flows through the country’s capital. The city authorities of Quito appealed the verdict, but the court set strict conditions.

In an unusual ruling, the Constitutional Court in Ecuador decided on 7 July that the pollution violated the rights of the river flowing through the country’s capital, Quito. This was possible because Ecuador is one of the few countries that recognise the right of natural elements in the environment not to be degraded or polluted.

A river in Ecuador won the right against pollution in court

Activists from the Kitu Kara group filed the complaint. At a press conference, its representative, Darío Iza, stated: "This is historic because the river runs right through Quito, and because of its influence, people live very close to it." The capital's authorities appealed the verdict based on Ecuador's constitution. However, the court ruled that even during the appeal process, the city hall must present a plan for cleaning the Machángara River.

With a population of 2.6 million, the city discharges all sorts of sewage and pollutants into the river, which originates high in the Andes. Even before it flows through Quito, it encounters problems such as the almost total lack of sewage treatment for waste dumping into it. The average oxygen level in the Machángara is 2 per cent, which prevents the proper development of aquatic life.

Historic victory for nature’s rights

Many international environmental protection groups celebrated the groundbreaking verdict. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature wrote on Instagram: "Historic victory for the rights of nature: The Machángara River in Ecuador is declared a subject of rights! This decision represents a breakthrough in the protection and decontamination of one of the most vulnerable rivers in the country."

In 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that grants every human being the right to live in a clean, healthy, and ecologically balanced environment. Out of the 193 countries eligible to vote, 161 supported this important initiative, with eight abstaining.

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