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"It's an important message especially for politicians. It expresses our desire for a different development model based on more sustainable life alternatives," Inty Arcos said.
On Monday, the environmental organization Quito Without Mining celebrated the prohibition of all types of mining activities in the Andean Chocó, a biosphere reserve located in the northeastern capital city of Ecuador.
Over 2 million residents of Quito were summoned to participate in a referendum held on Sunday, concurrent with the advanced presidential and parliamentary elections.
The National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that 68 percent of the voters expressed support for prohibiting mining at any scale in the Chocó forests. Only 31 percent of the voters were in favor of allowing mining.
The ban on mining will be applied to the 124,000 hectares of the Andean Choco Community, comprising the rural localities of Calacali, Gualea, Nanegal, Nanegalito, Nono, and Pacto.
The text reads, "Long live Choco Andino and its iconic spectacled bear."
This area, where around 20,000 people live and where there are twelve mining concessions in the exploration phase and eight other concessions in process, is part of the 287,000 hectares that make up the Andean Choco, which extends across the Pichincha province.
"This is a historic day, which means a before and an after for the Quito Metropolitan District," stated Inty Arcos, the coordinator of the Andean Choco Community.
"It's an important message especially for politicians. It expresses our desire for a different model of development based on more sustainable life alternatives," he added.
Ivonne Ramos, the president of Ecological Action, affirmed that the referendum results will help preserve an important UNESCO biosphere reserve, which is "a crucial step to prevent life-threatening situations generated by climate change on the planet."