The páramos of Colombia – a region of the Andes too high for trees to grow and too low to be covered in snow – holds an ecosystem unlike any other on earth. One that millions of people rely on.
Home to thousands of unique species, including daisies as tall as trees, this beautiful and boggy region acts as a sponge – holding water from rains during the winter and slowly releasing it into streams and rivers in the summer. An astounding 70% of the water from the Andes makes its way through the páramos – a primary water source for the people of Colombia.
Even though the páramos play a vital role in the lives of Colombians, the government continued to allow coal mining in the region, threatening the páramos ecosystem and the quality of its water.
That is, until this week.
After pressure from both local communities and Greenpeace Colombia, the highest environmental authority in Colombia just ordered multinational mining company Hunza Coal to abandon part of its operation in the páramos. And that’s not all. Colombia’s constitutional court has revoked all 347 coal mining licenses in the region.
This is a huge victory for the people of Colombia and for the páramos. More than 70,000 Colombians signed to protect the páramos, and their voices have been heard: water is worth more that coal profits.
Though there is certainly more to do to ensure full protection for the páramos, it now faces one less threat.
Celebrate the protection of the páramos with us, and share the good news!
Silvia Gomez is the campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Colombia