Paraguay: Marijuana affecting the environment

Cannabis crops are causing deforestation in protected areas

Cannabis crops Paraguay

A total of 15,885 hectares of forest were lost in 2016 in the eastern region of Paraguay mainly due to the creation of small marijuana crop fields. This is happening despite the fact that there has been a Zero-Deforestation Law that prohibits logging since 2004 in said area, stated the environmental organization WWF.

The figure, which represents a noticeable increase compared to 2015, with the deforestation of 14,423 hectares, affects the Atlantic Forest of Alto Paraná, a wet jungle that today has 226,124 square kilometers of forest, 16.8% less than its original size.

The departments of Canindeyú, with 5,392.4 hectares facing deforestation issues, Amambay with 4,203 hectares, and San Pedro, with 2,570.6 hectares, lead the areas with the most forest loss, according to satellite records, added the environmental organization. These are areas where marihuana crops are abundant, a drug of which Paraguay is the largest producer in South America.

Although the figure does not reach the proportions of deforestation foresighted eight years ago, WWF urged the government "to take action on the issue, to save what is left of this ecoregion". The organization underlined that the Zero-Deforestation law has allowed the reduction of logging, but not to the levels for which it was promulgated.

LatinAmerican post | Daniel Posada