El Salvador becomes first nation to ban metal mining

Campaigners celebrated with the slogan “No to mining, yes to life”, after the bill was unanimously passed.

©Parolan Harahap Flickr

Central America’s smallest nation, El Salvador, created history as the lawmakers declared the nation a mining-free territory on March 29.

According to The Guardian, El Salvador’s water crisis has deepened over the years. Even though the region receives abundant rainfall, unsustainable farming methods and inadequate industrial controls are the major causes of widespread soil erosion and extensive deforestation.

Most of the surface waters are contaminated with toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and waste matter. The ban on metal mining is followed by years of struggle to protect the nation’s shrinking water resources from polluting mining projects.

Pedro Cabezas, from International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador said, “The vote is a victory for communities who for more than a decade have relentlessly organised to keep mining companies out of their territories. The prohibition ensures the long-term ecological viability of a country already considered one of the most environmentally vulnerable in the world. ”

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