Excellent news for the consolidation of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador: this morning, the judges of the Court of Sucumbíos have ruled in favor of the nine girls from the Amazon, plaintiffs in the Action for Protection, which has been filed with the aim of eliminating gas flaring in the oil industry.
This ruling in favor of health, nature, and the environment will mean reparation for the thousands of people affected by the contamination produced by the venting and flaring of gas in the oil wells of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
“I am very happy because, finally, justice has been served. We are going to recover nature, for all the sick children, for the parents who have struggled to stay healthy, for the families who live under the lighters and have had to abandon their land,”Leonela Moncayo, one of the plaintiff girls against Ecuador gas flaring.
The flares consist of open-air pipes that burn and expel natural gas at an average temperature of 400 degrees Celsius. In 2020, a group of nine girls from Sucumbíos and Orellana filed an Action for Protection against the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources and the Ministry of Environment and Water, in order to enforce their rights under the Constitution of Ecuador.
In this complaint, the girls explained that this gas flaring is a violation of aquatic, health, and food sovereignty rights, and a healthy and ecologically balanced environment for all. The complaint also included that the operation of these burners has caused damage to the health of people living in the surrounding fields – including cases of cancer and respiratory diseases related to gas flaring – and has even contaminated the rainwater in the area.
This action had been denied by the Provincial Court of Sucumbíos for “lack of studies confirming the health conditions of the people in the area”, but this group of girls appealed the decision, and today, January 26th, that ruling was reversed.
The court’s decision states that it “accepts the appeal filed by the plaintiffs and declares that the Ecuadorian state has ignored the right of the plaintiffs to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment, disregarding their right to health by not providing or promoting the use of environmentally clean technologies and non-polluting and high-impact energy”.
This sentence also represents an opportunity for oil companies to modify their ways of production and to be more responsible with nature and the human beings of the Amazon.