Ecuador seeks funding to keep Amazon oil untapped

By Xinhua

Quito : The Ecuadorean government has launched a campaign to raise money to save the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon rain forest region from oil exploration, Environment Minister Ana Alban has said.

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"Despite our needs, which are many, we are willing to lose part of the income that could be obtained from exploiting the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) field in Yasuni," the minister said Tuesday.

The government would open a special bank account for those who are interested in defending the life and the environment of the indigenous people. It is seeking $350 million a year for 10 years from various sources to pay for the social and infrastructure work in the country.

Alban said Ecuador would also develop plans to win the support of the international community and nations who are interested in preserving the environment.

The campaign will also set up mobile billboards in several major cities in the country where citizens can sign to show their opposition to the oil exploitation.

The ITT field is located in the Yasuni National Park deep in Ecuador's northeastern jungle.

It is estimated to have reserves of a billion barrels of crude oil. It's also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its rich variety of flora and fauna.