Mining regions suffer from soil erosion and water pollution. The slash-and-burn tactics of coca growers destroy tropical forest resources, while cocaine production processes dump sulfuric acid, lime, and kerosene into the ground and bodies of water. Financially strapped, the government depends on a small number of non-governmental organizations for environmental conservation efforts.
The government passes a controversial law on the control and eradication of coca plantations, allowing a limited quantity of legal coca. It also creates the National Secretariat for the Environment, responsible for environmental planning and policymaking, and the National Fund for the Environment. The Fund is to coordinate with the Ministry of Planning to implement an Environmental Action Plan.
The government adopts a comprehensive environmental law requiring projects to undertake an environmental impact statement. The law establishes an Environmental Audit program and regulations for water use. Bolivia works with international organizations to bring regulations in line with the standards of industrialized countries while seeking to attract investment in mining and other sectors.
As economic growth slowly resumes, the government creates the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Environment. The Ministry develops a General Plan for economic and social development, but lacks the means of execution at the national and district levels. The coca-eradication program reduces the amount of land used for coca cultivation.
Local and international environmentalist groups oppose a Bolivia-Brazil pipeline that runs through the Chiquitano forest and the Patanal wetlands, two sensitive eco-regions. A petroleum pipeline break and the ensuing oil gush help further their cause, but the pipeline project continues. Bolivia considers ecotourism as a means of boosting the economy while preserving the environment.
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