Hundreds of Peruvian citizens protested February 18 in front of the offices of Chinese state-owned company Cosco Shipping Ports in Chancay, Peru, “due to the constant explosions it carries out to modify the bay” to build a megaport in the city, said the Peruvian nongovernmental organization (NGO) CooperAcción, which promotes social and environmental rights.
Cosco assured it would carry out controlled detonations at the Chancay Multipurpose Port Terminal project, but explosive charges are each day more powerful, CooperAcción added. On February 16, the intense detonations alarmed residents, forcing them to abandon their homes, which showed cracks caused by the explosions.
“The Mamani Flores’ house shows increasingly serious damage, such as the rupture of a water pipe that flooded the entire household. The Mamanis live almost 100 meters from Cosco Shipping Ports Chancay Peru,” the investigative journalism news site Diálogo Chino said.
The Santa Rosa Chancay Wetland Environmental Monitoring Committee posted a video on Facebook showing how the construction of the new port, located 80 kilometers from Lima, is affecting the flora and fauna in the protected area. “The bird population has decreased. The herons no longer arrive in this wetland, which used to be a peaceful place for migratory birds that passed through different nations worldwide,” the civil association said.
Miriam Arce, president of the Association for the Defense of Housing and the Environment in Chancay Port, also posted a video on Facebook, denouncing the death of crabs and sea urchins on the port’s beaches, “due to Cosco’s continuous dredging and construction of breakwaters, on the side of Punta and Cascajo.”
The Peruvian environmental NGO Mundo Azul said it had sent the Chinese company 50 observations on the project’s environmental impact. “There are still 29 observations that we do not consider answered, because Cosco refuses to recognize the environmental impact generated, does not provide the information required to assess the impact, uses erroneous scientific concepts, denies its responsibility, and blames third parties.”
In addition, the company continues to deny the impact on the population’s health due to the emissions generated, it continues to minimize the impact of dredging activities and the discharge of sediments, and it continues to neglect to analyze the release of toxic dust into the environment, the NGO says.
Works in progress
As part of the megaproject, Cosco is drilling a tunnel that, as of February 28, has advanced 30 meters. “The length of the road will be 1.8 km, and it will be part of a separate and exclusive road corridor for cargo related to port operations,” the El Peruano newspaper reported.
The port’s first dock is expected to be ready by mid-2023 and completion of all the infrastructure is planned for the second half of 2024, with an annual general cargo capacity of 6 million tons, Seatrade Maritime News reported.
According to Diálogo Chino, the Chancay megaport seeks to become a trade hub between Asia and South America. Chinese companies already control more than 10 ports in seven Latin American countries and are “making a strong impact on the one in Chancay,” the Argentine news site Nexofin said.
“We’ll have to leave”
According to information from the Peruvian Ministry of Transport and Communications, the project will exceed $3.6 billion.
“The problem is the project’s location. It will be a major investment, but how much are we going to lose? Perhaps at some point we will have to leave, because we will not be able to live here,” Arce concluded.