Victory in Pichilemu: Save the Waves Coalition and Chilean surfer-activists celebrate the withdrawal of a proposed sewage pipeline in Chile’s Surf City.
The Chilean regional water company ESSBIO recently announced in Pichilemu the cancellation of its proposal to build a 1-kilometre waste pipeline that was to dump the town’s sewage just offshore of the main surfing and recreational beach in downtown Pichilemu.
Save the Waves Coalition’s Josh Berry commented, “Pichilemu is entirely dependent on surfing and beach tourism for survival. The original sewage proposal defined Pichilemu as a forestry-based economy, and completely ignored the importance of healthy, pollution-free beaches for the local economy. But our community-based activism and the passion of the local surfers’ opposition successfully persuaded regional and federal government that this project was entirely flawed. Chilean surfers have won a huge battle against senseless ocean pollution in Pichilemu.”
Local surfers, fishermen and tourism business leaders led a two-year battle against the pipeline, insisting on better alternatives that would efficiently clean the town’s waste instead of dumping it into the ocean. The ESSBIO water company now proposes a cutting-edge tertiary treatment facility that would introduce potable water into a nearby waterway to be utilized for irrigation and the creation of a wetlands.
Save the Waves Coalition’s short film, “Pulp, Poo and Perfection” features the Pichilemu sewage opposition and highlights the local environmental movement engaged in direct action. Film director Angel Marin stated, “This is exactly why we made it: to bring major attention to the issue and force real change in a problem that has a clear solution. In this case, the solution is literally clear water.”
To celebrate the victory over the sewage issue as well as the film release of Pulp, Poo and Perfection, a party is slated for mid-October in Santiago. For more information, please visit www.savethewaves.org.