Temas Especiales

23 de Nov de 2020

Nacional

Odors invade Chitre, leading to stomach problems

PANAMA. While many suggest Chitre is the best city to live on the isthmus, no one speaks of the health hazards many in the area are suf...

PANAMA. While many suggest Chitre is the best city to live on the isthmus, no one speaks of the health hazards many in the area are suffering from. In the city where “no one is a foreigner”, as many describe Chitre, clean water is daily becoming more scarce, and many residential areas are surrounded by stinky sewage.

Many locals have to live with sewage running through little streams in their backyards or close to their homes, because of a lack of proper treatment. In some cases, the stench is such that residents cannot even eat without experiencing discomfort, and many complain of stomach problems.

According to residents, the area was not inhabited years ago, so the dirty streams did not affect anyone. But with the construction of new housing developments, a sewage treatment facility is desperately needed to prevent a health crisis.

Camilo Caballero, ANAM (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente) administrator in Herrera, said that the initial responsibility for any environmental damages caused by the untreated water falls upon the housing developers, who should have approached ANAM when the problem began.

In many cases, he said, even if they want to place sanctions for the damages, they wouldn’t know who to blame. “Take La Floresta project, for example. It went bankrupt. The bank seized it. Now who do we sanction?,” he said.

Caballero also mentioned that IDAAN has finished a proposal for a complete sewerage system and water treatment plant to collect all of the sewage of Chitre, and ANAM has already carried out an Environmental Impact Study and approved the project.

However, a start date for construction has not been set, as Chitre municipality officials are still looking for the funds to finance the project ($25,000).