Municipalities limited in the face of certain events generating environmental pollution


There are activities such as the handling of fuels that, if not properly managed, affect the rivers that cross the cantons. Each one has particular threats, depending on its geography. Courtesy

Xavier Ramos
February 10, 2021 – 07h03

“The sanctions imposed by the Municipal Environmental Commission are indicated in the law and can be pecuniary or administrative, for example: temporary closures, permanent closures or revocation of administrative authorizations,” says Paulina Andrade, deputy director of the Environment.

The method that is applied includes the verification of the denounced fact . In the event that the technical reports verify that there are non-compliance with environmental regulations, the parties involved are notified.

52 cases of crimes against flora and fauna have been resolved from 2019 to 2020, but 161 complaints were filed in the same period

The problem is when the Decentralized Autonomous Governments (GAD) run out of room for action. ” If the complaint is not within the municipal jurisdiction, after the on-site verification, it is sent to the corresponding environmental authority (Ministry of the Environment and Water, MAA) to proceed in accordance with the Law,” says Andrade.

But if it is a matter of municipal competence that initiates administrative filing. If it is decided against, “monetary and administrative sanctions are imposed such as the definitive closure of the activity, confiscation of wildlife, native, exotic or invasive species; also, tools, equipment, means of transport and other instruments used,” assures the official.

Sanctions also include the temporary suspension of the activity or the official guarantee of action, revocation of the authorization, termination of the contract, loss of incentives and removal of people from the area where the offense is being committed.

The Organic Code of the Environment and the Organic Administrative Code indicate that municipal environmental police stations have the power to order the temporary suspension of activities in cases of risk of damage or environmental impact with the purpose to prevent and avoid these situations.

There are cases that cannot go further, such as when there is specific contamination of the Guayas River derived from some specific activity carried out on its banks. “The Municipality of Guayaquil acts within the framework of its powers, which are delegated by the Ministry of the Environment, the highest national authority,” he says.

The action depends on the activity carried out and the geographical location of the polluting event , since there are exclusive powers assigned to the national environmental authority.

Even if there is the presumption of an environmental crime with criminal implications, the Municipality of Guayaquil denounces it to the Prosecutor’s Office, with the necessary documents for the process, according to the official.

The anti-technical felling and pruning of trees in the Faculty of Architecture of the Guayaquil University is one of the reported facts. “In this case, the Faculty proceeded to cut down three tree specimens and prune one specimen. By means of a technical report, it was sent to the Mayor’s Office to be relayed to the Prosecutor’s Office,” he indicates.

In addition, the oil spill in the Daule River that occurred in June 2016 by a company was reported, which called for the suspension of the treatment of the water that is captured from that tributary to supply the city of Guayaquil.

The MAA informs this newspaper that in the field inspection to verify what is reported, it works with other institutions such as the National Police, Mayor’s Offices, Regulation and Control Agencies, among others.

Each activity has an environmental management plan previously approved by the MAA. Time is given first to implement corrective and mitigation measures.

The entity reports that between 2019 and 2020 it has identified environmental breaches “in mining, hydrocarbon, hydroelectric, agroindustrial and other activities that have caused a significant impact on the physical components of soil, water, air, flora and fauna, therefore this has substantiated the initiation of more than 360 administrative actions (sanctions) at the national level ”.

It also refers the cases to the Prosecutor’s Office. In 2020 alone, the office opened 28 actions related to possible crimes against the environment and nature , of which 8 correspond to the crime against wild fauna and flora that occurred in Galapagos.

Read the original coverage from El Universo at

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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