May 27, 2020

COVID19 update

Quilacocha Lake, the color is due to pollution
Quilacocha Lake, the color is due to pollution

COVID19 slowed down our project but it did not stop it.

As we all know the world has changed a lot in the last few months. The travel bans and the global quarantine has obliged us to review our programs in Cerro de Pasco, and in general, a lot of things for our organization.

We were ready to go to Cerro de Pasco in March. We purchased equipment and flight tickets, we had our school ready and students identified. Everything was ready for us to go and implement our citizen science project. Then COVID19 has changed everything. We were forced to first postpone our flights and then cancel them. Schools in Peru were closed and we were unable to properly communicate with our partners.  

Currently the situation in Europe is going better but in Peru it remains critical. In Cerro de Pasco schools are still closed and the forced quarantine is still in place. Travel ban is still in place and there is no official end to it. We were forced to postpone our citizen science project to a later stage.

Our developed word is moving everything online. But Peru, and Cerro de Pasco, is not the same then Europe or the United States. Connections are not reliable and lot of people do not have access to computers and smartphones, moving everything online is simply impossible. Furthermore, not everything can be moved online. We cannot sample water online nor analyze dust and pollution. The majority of organizations are moving everything on the digital platforms, but working in the filed requires a physical presence. The work of Source International requires a physical presence. It can be difficult in some situation, but it is what makes us different from other organizations.  

However, we are moving online everything we can and we are also developing a new manual to be shared with partner organizations, to develop a basic community monitoring system even without us. This manual will be ready by the end of the year and it will be available for everybody who need it. Stay tuned and continue to support us also in this new challenge!

Skin rushes are a common result of pollution
Skin rushes are a common result of pollution
Teaching water monitoring
Teaching water monitoring

Links:

Jan 30, 2020

Citizen Science in Cerro de Pasco

Cerro de Pasco
Cerro de Pasco

Source International will implement a Citizen Science project in Cerro de Pasco with the youth of the town.

Youth are the driving force for change but they often lack knowledge, instruments and a space to share their ideas for the future. We will create all of this in Cerro de Pasco!

Thanks to the partnership with Action Project we will be able to provide equipment and training to 30 students from three different schools in the area of Cerro de Pasco.

We will train ten students and two professors for each school in three different schools. We will also provide equipment to every school. Every student will have access to:

-a multi-parameter probe to measure pH, conductivity and Total Dissolved Solids: three very important parameters of mining pollution.

-several rapid kits to measure heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum) concentration in the water: this is the main problem in Cerro de Pasco.

Thanks to the equipment and the training, students will be able to monitor pollution in the water and have a clear understanding of the situation in their basins.

 

We will also create a Youth Forum in order to give to the students a place to share their results, to create awareness and to advocate for the rights of them and of all the city. The Youth Forum will be hosted in one of the school but it will be accessible for every youth in town. Over time this will be a very important space for shaping the future of the highest city in the world.

 

In February we will travel to Berlin for the kick-off meeting of the project and in March we will travel to Cerro de Pasco to start the training and to bring the equipment. Keep following us for more updates!

Links:

Nov 4, 2019

Updates on the environmental study

Air quality monitoring
Air quality monitoring
Last month, we analyzed environmental samples such as air, water, soil and food, collected in different areas in Cerro de Pasco and surrounding. Now we are ready to share with you the main findings:
1. The contamination of water resources (rivers and lakes) is still present, even if it reduced its level since our last monitoring in 2016, due to the reduction of mining activities across the years. Tap water does not present heavy metals above law limits, but we found lead, arsenic and zinc above the Peruvian law limit in several spring water.
2. The air quality monitoring did not shown high concentration of heavy metals in the coarse fraction of suspended particles, even if we observed peaks of PM10 (inhalable fraction of partculate matter) near mining wastedisposals in the community of Paraghsa.
3. Lead has been found in lama meat who graze near the San Juan river (that received mining waste waters) due to the absorbtion through water and/or soil ingestion.
4. Extremly high concentration of toxic metals as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic, have been found in school park and play grounds. Notoriously those playgrounds are surrounded by mining waste disposals.
The distribution of heavy metals observed in environmental matrix, mainly in soil, shows close relationship with metals found in hair of children analyzed during 2018. This help us to reinforce and empower our dialogue with our main stakeholders: mining companies and national and local government.
We will publish soon a report with these environmental results in order to share the founding with local and national authorities for advocacy and litigation paths. 
Water quality sampling
Water quality sampling
Water pollution
Water pollution
Measuring water pollution
Measuring water pollution
 
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