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5 - Ghost Acres

Waste Management and the Toxic Metamorphosis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2023

Maximilian Fritz Feichtner
Affiliation:
Independent Scholar
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Summary

Chapter 5 inquires how the rainforests of Ecuador turned into a profoundly contaminated landscape between the 1970s and 1990s. Recurrent oil spills, discharges of toxic water into rivers, the burning of crude oil and of natural gas, and the use of simple earthen waste pits all contributed to a toxic metamorphosis of the Amazon region. An analysis of Texaco’s internal communication about environmental contamination from 1972 to 1980 gives insights into the intentionality of the company’s handling of hazardous waste. The toxic metamorphosis was the result of practices of externalization in the production and disposal of hazardous waste in the Ecuadorean oil industry. This chapter develops the concept of the toxic ghost acre as a mechanism of the externalization of costs onto the environment and the public health of local populations. The notion of toxic ghost acreage is useful to uncover the transnational and socio-ecological dynamics that turned the Amazon into a cheap sink for hazardous waste. The chapter ends by shedding light on the perpetuation of the toxic ghost acres in Ecuador through Texaco’s insufficient remediation programs in the 1990s.

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Chapter
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The Metamorphosis of the Amazon
An Environmental History of Oil Extraction in Ecuador
, pp. 119 - 146
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Ghost Acres
  • Maximilian Fritz Feichtner, Independent Scholar
  • Book: The Metamorphosis of the Amazon
  • Online publication: 13 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009343053.005
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  • Ghost Acres
  • Maximilian Fritz Feichtner, Independent Scholar
  • Book: The Metamorphosis of the Amazon
  • Online publication: 13 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009343053.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Ghost Acres
  • Maximilian Fritz Feichtner, Independent Scholar
  • Book: The Metamorphosis of the Amazon
  • Online publication: 13 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009343053.005
Available formats
×