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An appeals court judge ruled that the Ecuadorian oil industry’s long-permitted practice of gas flaring— dubbed “flares of death” by local residents— is unconstitutional. Flaring is a practice in which the oil industry burns the byproducts of oil extraction, producing highly polluting methane and other gases, which erupt as a giant flame from a vertical gas pipe just meters from an oil well head.

The toxic pollution caused by flaring is known to lead to chromosomal and genetic damage. The closer one lives to the flares, the more dangerous the conditions are for cancer, malformations and miscarriages.

The plaintiffs in the case— nine children aged between 7 and 14 who live in the contaminated lands of Sucumbios in the Ecuadorian Amazon— sued the state-owned oil company, PetroAmazonas to demand the cessation of gas flares in their villages, which contaminate the air and lead to illness, and the outlawing of future permits.

Source: Amazon Frontlines