Protests over the past week in Ecuador have seen indigenous people take over the nation's National Assembly in Quito, with the President, Lenin Moreno having to flee to the city of Guayaquil. The current uprising in Ecuador is led by Indigenous organisation CONAIE. Reports as of 11/10/19 suggest: 7 deaths (including an infant) have occurred, 95 people have been wounded and are in intensive care, with an additional 500 people reporting minor injuries. Nearly 1000 people have been arrested. 57 journalists have been injured with 13 being detained by police. 9 media sources have been closed and 26 politicians arrested. Image: https://twitter.com/CONAIE_Ecuador Protesters take over the National Assembly
In November 2017, Friends of the Earth initiated a campaign to better understand drinking water quality issues in Australia. The Australian Drinking Water Quality Map was constructed by Dvize, with data entered by FoE. The Map hoped to shed light on drinking water problems across Australia. For some years, Friends of the Earth had concerns about contaminants, such as pesticides in drinking water. However, it became apparent that whilst pesticides are frequently detected in water supplies, albeit at low levels, there are a number of substances found more frequently and at levels far higher than most of pesticide detections. Also of interest, was that similar to pesticides, there is no national or state authority in Australia that collates information from around the country concerning water quality issues. Image: Roma (Queensland). Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roma,_Queensland
The Glyphosate controversy continues making news around the world and in Australia. The latest news being that the German Government has recently announced that it will phase out all uses for Glyphosate by 2023. Interestingly, the prime motivation for the decision in Germany was not so much human health concerns, but the damage the herbicide does to ecosystems, in particular insects critical for pollination of food crops.
The Victorian Government has recently been thwarted by community opposition in the Mornington Peninsula, to widespread insecticide application for mosquito control. The Government in conjunction with Mornington Shire Council were planning to spray 25 square kilometres of the Peninsula with insecticides Bifenthrin or Methoprene. This image shows the areas targeted with Bifenthrin spraying in March 2019 in suburban Rye.
Pesticides are rife across the Australian landscape. Thousands of toxic sites exist across the country. Since the creation of the Australian Pesticide Map in November 2017, statistics have shown that by far the page that has generated the most interest, is the page relating to Homebush Bay in Sydney. This interest is also likely to highlight that Homebush Bay and the ongoing dioxin pollution Sydney Harbour are the number one pesticide hotspots in the country. Homebush Bay is marked with the yellow pin on image.
Australian Mining companies Solgold and a subsidiary of Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting, continue to encounter problems in Ecuador. Solgold, an Australian exploration company is starting to come under sustained resistance from local communities, alarmed that hundreds of thousands of hectares of Ecuador is now under mining concessions owned by Solgold. Rinehart's problems have been receiving international media attention, after the Ecuadorian Government employed 2000 troops in July to clear out her mining concession, Imba 2, in the north of the country of 10,000 "illegal" miners. The army was apparently sent in by President Lenin Moreno, after a terse meeting with Hanrine, the Hancock subsidiary, in April.
“There is little recent published information on water quality in the rivers of the Gippsland Lakes catchment. Although data may be collected through a range of routine monitoring programs, it has not been consolidated or analysed. This provides little information on water quality trends in these river systems. The small amount of published information is related only to salinity, water clarity and total nutrient concentrations. There is no information on nutrient dynamics, and very little on toxicants in rivers and streams.” EPA Victoria. Gippsland Lakes and catchment literature review Report Publication 1585 February 2015.
Media reports from Ecuador are highlighting a recent gunfight near the the community of Buenos Aires located in the north of the country. Reports suggest that rival mafia interests are fighting over control of a massive illegal mining operation that is located on a mining concession owned by the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart.