A River with Rights, People with but a few?
The sludge you see beneath this labyrinth of wooden planks is raw sewage. The river is laced with mercury and “cianuro” — cyanide, chemicals used in illegal mining. Tons of wood is trucked out at night, deforestation adding to the sedimentation that causes the Río Atrato to flood in a cyclical fashion. The last big flood was 2010, and folks in Rio Sucio constructed these air-borne walkways as a crisis management response. Twelve years on, the walkways remain. I embrace the “rights of nature,” but not over the welfare of the disenfranchised Afro-Colombian and Indigenous people who live in seemingly permanent precarity along the riverbank.
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