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2016 / Pasco-Junin, Peru / Territorial analysis

The Chinchaycocha territory is a plateau at 4,300 meters above sea level placed in Pasco and Junín regions. It has the second largest lake in Peru (Chinchaycocha lake). This wetland rich in biodiversity is under protection as a Nature Reserve. However, historical lax of regulation and ecological neglect have dramatically impacted its unique ecosystem. Today, the lake has high rates of water and soil pollution, and most of its endemic flora and fauna is shrinking.

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Industrial waste dumped into the lake.

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The north side of the region concentrates on intense mining activity. However, the vast majority of these resources do not generate enough benefits for local communities but high levels of environmental degradation and social inequality. Cerro de Pasco is the largest city in the region. It has 70,000 inhabitants and concentrates around 60% of its population. The city has grown and expanded around an open-pit mine (the most important source of work in the past) that has stopped much of its production, pushing most of the workers to move toward other jobs and activities. Today, the open-pit mine is mostly a source of pollution with severe consequences on people´s health. 


Local authorities are planning to relocate the city of Cerro de Pasco to a safer and non-polluted place. Current plans are focused on finding a new place to build a whole new city. This study, on the contrary, speculates about alternative solutions to avoid enforced retreat from Cerro de Pasco. The proposal visualizes a scenario where investment is focused on improving and fostering other economics in the existing cities and towns settled in the margins of the lake, and transforming future efforts to remediate the lake and wetlands into opportunities for local development.

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