The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism recently taught an online environmental journalism to a group of university students in Peru. This is one of the stories produced during that effort. The program was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Lima.
By Micaela Sotillo
Peru is a country with monuments of great historical value, and for every street or avenue you walk, there will be something to tell about it.
The huacas, temples and fortresses are located inside and outside the cities, giving an effect of mysticism to the neighborhoods.
In the Callao region, known for being the largest seaport since the viceroyalty, there is the Real Felipe Fortress. It is the most fascinating attraction of the port of Callao.
Built in the 18th century, the Real Felipe defended Lima from pirate attacks, and the strong walls continued to protect the city even after independence in the 19th century.
This wonderful monument is the pride of many citizens of the region.
However, a few weeks ago, many citizens registered complaints about the poor condition and maintenance outside the installations. Between plastic bags and organic waste, the foundations are deteriorating, and what seemed like a place admired by many is now a concern for history lovers.
Many users made their complaints to the municipality on the TikTok platform about the lack of maintenance and attention given to the surroundings of the fortress. They also showed images of passers-by performing inappropriate acts such as urinating.
The shortage of interest by the authorities in preserving the surroundings of the monument, apparently, is not the first fault they have committed.
The nearby beaches and others in the region have suffered the consequences of a lack of environmental awareness.
For example, we learned the story of Alessa, a communicator from the University of Lima. She told us about the last time she toured the facilities and what the differences were that she found with respect to the environment that surrounds the fortress.
The first time she visited there was in 2017.
Four years later, she was pleasantly surprised that everything inside the monument seemed the same as the last time.
However, the streets that border the Real Felipe had deteriorated drastically.
“There is a lot of pollution in the air. The tracks are full of informal transport,” she said.
The polluted gardens, as well as the nearby beaches, are elements that mar the current panorama.
Misinformation and lack of environmental awareness are among the biggest problems we have as a country.
Many citizens are unaware of the serious consequences that their small actions against the ecosystem can cause.
Teaching respect for our environment and our monuments is necessary to avoid more disasters like that one.