Landowners, behind the great crimes of the Ciénaga Grande

The Senate Land Management Commission warned this Monday that behind the poverty of Tasajera and the other amphibious and fishing populations that surround the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta “there are environmental crimes by large landowners and businessmen.”

The complaint was brought before the political control debate by the senator, Efraín Cepeda, of the Conservative Party, who pointed out that “those who have paid for the environmental crimes in the Ciénaga Grande are its residents. The country experienced this extreme poverty as a result of the Tasajera tragedy. We need actions by the authorities against the criminal hands that build illegal ‘trinchos’ to divert water from the rivers that descend from the Sierra Nevada to their private properties, water that belongs to the Ciénaga and to the population ”.

The parliamentarian added, referring to the tragedy that a few weeks ago left 45 people dead and 80 burned after the explosion of a vehicle that transported gasoline and that was being looted at the time of the outbreak, that “these municipalities are far from being criminals they are impoverished inhabitants, we do not share that they tried to loot the transport, but the need is such ”.

He expanded on the complaints he has been making since 2016 and warned that “illegal artisan charcoal is being made from mangrove logging, which contributes to coastal erosion. They are illegal coal extraction works in the Isla Salamanca Park, which belongs to the Ciénaga Grande, and it is clear that these industrial processes are carried out by large businessmen, they have collection centers and even export ”.

Dual carriageway

In front of the Ciénaga-Barranquilla dual carriageway, he recalled that the road built more than 50 years ago has contributed to damage to the Ciénaga, because no water exchangers were left and years later they were built, but they were blocked and there has been no one to respond and give solution. Therefore, he said, the new highway must have interchangers.

“The Caribbean Bank managed to include the dual carriageway out of respect for the environment, but due to coastal erosion there are points on the verge of collapse. To Mintransporte I expressed that in the construction phase of the viaducts about 4 thousand jobs could be generated, we propose an alliance with the Sena to train and that the workforce be from the extremely poor villages of Tasajera and other towns in the area ” , he raised.

And about the Cartagena-Barranquilla dual carriageway, he said that it has come at a slow pace due to the purchase of properties, in which 50% of the $ 160 billion investment for it has gone. To finish the work, he said, there is about $ 40 billion missing that must be included in the 2021 budget.

Senator Miguel Amín, from La U, who is also a citation, said that it is time for the Ministry of Environment to look favorably on the recovery of the Ciénaga and the Parque Isla Salamanca.

“The Government must open those channels that feed the Ciénaga not only for the recovery of the mangroves, but also for fishing. The Aracataca and Fundación rivers are being lost, which today do not even reach 20% of their flow due to the improper use of the waters that flow into the Ciénaga ”.

In turn, Senator Eduardo Pacheco, from Colombia Justa Libres, who was quoted, announced: “We will continue to streamline the procedures to get this Ciénaga work underway and its planning requires a thorough study to avoid environmental impacts.”

The Minister of Environment, Ricardo Lozano, told the legislative cell that progress has been made in these months of the pandemic in updating the management plan for the Ramsar site in La Ciénaga

“We hope to present a project for USD 9 million before the GEF Fund (Global Environment Facility, GEF, or Global Environment Facility, GEF) to strengthen environmental governance with the inhabitants who occupy this ecosystem, with the management of sources such as the Fundación and Aracataca rivers, forest management and users with incentives for the implementation of sustainable projects ”, said the official.

The governor of Atlántico, Elsa Noguera, pointed out that the great Caribbean dream has been the true integration between the departments and especially between Santa Marta, Barranquilla and Cartagena.

Regarding the Barranquilla-Cartagena highway, he said that 12 kilometers have already been contracted by Invías, and that there are already 7 ready but there is a conflict between the ANI and Invías.

“On the side of the Ciénaga road, we cannot continue to postpone it, agree on what the route should be and seek financing, because we are always left with a bottleneck on the environmental issue,” he concluded.

Public politics

The governor of Magdalena, Carlos Caicedo, proposed a public policy on the Ciénaga with a Conpes document that articulates a State investment.

In this sense, he added that “a special protection plan must be made on the Ciénaga, a strategy is needed from different State security agencies. This is a matter that does not wait and hopefully the Prosecutor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and environmental authorities intervene ”.

He said that his department is fourth in monetary poverty and 7 in multidimensional. “This is a problem of historical management, planning and transparency.”

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