Bolivia has just passed a very encouraging – and groundbreaking – law of protection for Mother Earth, or Pachamama, the earth goddess and creator of all in the indigenous Aymara tradition. Now lawsuits can be brought claiming damages to Pachamama. The awareness is there, but the budget is not sufficient to the task, and enforcement will be hard to obtain. For instance, there are no laws in Bolivia against dumping trash on land or water. Just below our home is a dirty river called Choqueyapu, which is officially dead. Apparently 200,000 gallons of urine are dumped into it annually, along with 160,000 tons of excrement and tons of toxic waste from factories. The stench is overwhelming as we walk to the bus stop beside its foamy chocolate-colored waters. There are no leash laws and dog excrement is a part of sidewalk life, which adds to the runoff. We saw some laughing girls leaving an automotive business with a huge bucket which they dumped into the rushing waters without a care.
There are few private cars in La Paz, but many private minibuses which traverse the city constantly. This reduces smog and traffic though the buses themselves create major traffic jams and their emission controls are minimal. Littering is ubiquitous.
|Not Pachamama, but another indigenous masked figure|