The Situation

The Ecuadorian Amazon, one the most biodiverse places on Earth, has been transformed into one of the most active deforestation fronts in the Amazon and is the epicenter of one of the most environmentally damaging oil operations of all time.

For the past fifty years, indigenous peoples and their territories have seen their communities’ rivers and wetlands, and forests poisoned without ever having access to information related to the causes and consequences of this contamination.

“Despite a number of oil spills, pipeline ruptures and mismanaged waste water disposal sites that directly threaten the lives and health of our communities, the oil industry and the Ecuadorian government are still hiding the facts from us, so we need to gather our own information in order to defend ourselves.”

- Hernán Payaguaje, Secoya.

The Vision

Designed to provide tangible tools and key information to the Kofan, Siona, Secoya, and Waorani communities on the forefront of this significant pollution, deforestation and land degradation, the Environmental Monitoring Program measures environmental impacts and mitigates their damage to indigenous territories and families.

We are empowering indigenous communities to gain vital information and generate a body of evidence that each nationality can then use to advocate for greater territorial protection.

Explore our work in the field

Many of the indigenous communities situated within oil blocks know that their river and stream water is contaminated. For this very reason, Amazon Frontlines installed hundreds of water filtration systems across the Ecuadorian Amazon, directly providing safe drinkable water to communities. But there are other sources of direct exposures to contaminants from oil, mining and agriculture activities and, in response, we have initiated environmental monitoring projects to empower communities to measure levels of heavy metals, pesticides and hydrocarbons in water, soil and fish within or close to their lands. We work with international, independent laboratories to provide key information on contamination levels and health risks to communities and work with the communities to mitigate the risks to their health and livelihoods.

Indigenous territories of the Ecuadorian Amazon are continually threatened by illegal logging and mining, poaching, and illegal fishing practices that decimate fish populations and poison rivers. Developing projects utilizing satellite imagery, camera traps, drones and community mapping tools to monitor land invasion, our work allows for the critical channeling of reliable and corroborated information into community decision-making processes that strengthens community education, awareness and resolve. Strategies to ensure stronger protection of indigenous lands include direct engagement with encroachers, legal action, public advocacy and media campaigns.

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