After a long struggle of local communities and civil society groups against large-scale metal mining in El Salvador, lawmakers passed a bill to ban all metal mining in the country last Wednesday. El Salvador has been suffering water shortages and pollution due to mining operations.

With the slogan “no to mining, yes to life”, campaigners have been protesting to keep mining companies out of their territories. The mining activities have caused severe water shortages and pollution in the country. According to the Guardian, 90% of the surface water of El Salvador is heavily contaminated by toxic chemicals, heavy metals and waste water. Approximately a quarter of the rural population lacks access to safe drinking water.

Earlier this month, thousands of people protested to support the bill. The ban of metal mining in El Salvador represents a trend of popular opposition to environmentally destructive projects in Latin America. El Salvador is the first country in the world to ban all metal mining.

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