The coastal towns and villages of Peru are being blighted by an industry that has sprung up to satisfy the West’s voracious appetite for fish – now marine life, human health and whole ecosystems are paying the price. The Ecologist Film Unit investigates.
It is a life of poverty and filth. Standing above the tangle of rusting metal pipes and concrete-rimmed pools that lead into the ocean, Segundo Vorges and Luis Diaz explain how they scratch a living here in Chimbote harbour, Peru. They are part of a twilight community of ‘pipe people’ who survive by reclaiming waste discharged from nearby fishmeal production plants.
When operational, the pipes carry effluent – an unsavoury mixture of fish bodies, scales and fat – into the pools and the sea. Vorges and Diaz skim off the useful waste, particularly the fat, before shovelling it into containers. Some is turned into pellets used for cooking and sold at nearby markets. Whole families, including children, are involved in this dirty enterprise, earning $3 per day.
To read the full investigation, click here.