Inspecting ClearWater systems in Ecuador with Engineers Without Borders

Guilermo Grefa of the Quechua community Rumipamba in Ecuador shows the team of engineers the current water catchment system he is using. All of the natural water sources in his community are contaminated by oil.

I wasn’t in Ecuador just to post pretty pictures of Quito. I was actually there for work, with a team from Engineers Without Borders as they inspected the ClearWater pilot project. We’ve installed rainwater catchment systems in two different communities, and the EWB team was there to make recommendations for how we can roll it out to the dozen or so more communities that need ClearWater.

Oil pipelines run directly under Guillermo Grefa’s house.

It was a really eye-opening trip. I’ve been working on RAN‘s Chevron campaign for a couple years now, and yet I was still not prepared to witness the extent of the oil contamination in the area, or the incredible spirit of the people who have been living with that contamination for decades while fighting Chevron to take responsibility for its mess.

Oil is still plainly visible on the surface of the pond behind Guillermo Grefa’s house, even 30 years after a Texaco pipeline burst and caused a massive oil spill.

I posted a series of travelogue style “field reports” over on the RAN blog, Understory. Check ’em out.

Tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply