Petrochemical pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon
A new partnership to innovate and disseminate biochar water treatment in South America
Biochar water treatment workshop team: from left, Luis, Pablo, Lexie, JK, and Culia (the photographer).
I spent 2.5 weeks this September working two incredible grassroots organizations - Amisacho Restauracion and the Clinica Ambiental - to provide training in biochar water treatment to communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon affected by petrochemical pollution.
The Oriente – the eastern, Amazonian region of Ecuador  – has been heavily exploited for decades by the petrochemical industry. Oil pipeline ruptures are common, thousands of petrochemical waste pits dot the landscape, and sooty gas flares burn day and night combusting methane and other gases that are not economical to capture and utilize. 
This has caused massive pollution of the Amazonia ecosystem, killed wildlife, and contaminated water sources with a wide range of toxic compounds. Local indigenous populations have suffered a variety of diseases, including cancer and birth defects, from exposure to petrochemicals through drinking water, wild foods such as fish, and bathing in contaminated streams.