Environmental tribunal lists cases of destruction in Osa

These trees were cut to create agricultural land. Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo photo

Development and agriculture are having a destructive effect on the Humedal Nacional Térraba-Sierpe and vicinity, according to the Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo. Investigators inspected the area in late August through Sept. 2.

A statement from the Tribunal Tuesday said that 16 representative cases were found that typified the problem. The Tribunal cites cases where rivers were dredged and the silt piled up on the land and sometimes in protected mangroves. In one case, inspectors found a caiman tied up and ready to become dinner for workers on an agricultural plantation, they said.

José Lino Chaves, president of the Tribunal, also blamed harmful agricultural practices involving the grazing of cattle, rice cultivation, oil palm production and sugar cane.

In some cases, rice was planted too close to river banks and other types of vegetation were destroyed to provide areas for planting oil palms, he said.

The inspectors also found trees cut, mangroves destroyed and fumigation practices that polluted areas. In one case a developer constructed a sidewalk from the project to a waterway, something that is not permitted.

Animal was tied up by farm workers who were going to slaughter it for food, the Tribunal said. Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo photo

In addition to the Humedal Nacional Térraba-Sierpe other areas inspected were around the Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce, Ciudad Cortés, Palmar and Los Mogos on the Osa peninsula.

Rather than listing charges that will be brought against developers and farmers, Chaves asked for help from other governmental agencies to keep track of developments in the area and to mitigate the environmental damage.

However, action before the tribunal in the 16 cases that were cited are likely. Included are six major developments. The Tribunal has the power to hold hearings and assess fines. The agency also can freeze construction or farming.

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