Juan Carlos Quevedo
The environmental impacts of anthropogenic origin on the Jordan River identified by Taller del Territorio Foundation are:The urban growth in this area has not been controlled nor regulated systematically. Every day we see new houses being built with very little or no input into how the construction will affect the Jordan River. This has led to total deforestation and subsequent soil erosion along the entire watershed. This has elevated the rate of sedimentation of the main channel of the river during storm events.Pollution is widespread through direct discharges of both organic and inorganic materials. The amount of solid waste in this river is overwhelming. Trash recollection from the authorities is very inefficient and sporadic. During our river cleanup events, we have collected up to 6 tons of trash of all sorts.Fecal bacteria levels in the Jordan River are dangerously high due to untreated domestic effluents. During our water sampling, we have recorded Escherichia coli concentrations of up to 500 UFC. Needless to say, this diminishes considerably the water quality of this river. The health problems of families that wash their clothes and swim in these waters could be attributed to this pollution.Industrial pollution is also considerable in this watershed. We have identified some of the major polluters based on information available to the general public.There is a liquor industry in Boyacá that constantly pollutes the Jordan River with byproducts of its operation. We have observed car garage shops emptying oil into the river. Similarly, when petrol and gas stations have spills, these go directly into the river without any kind of treatment. These non-biodegradable liquids are a major source of pollution in the river.Pesticides and herbicides from intensive farming practices of potatoes and barley are another threat to the river’s health. Rain washes these toxic chemicals from the fields, through ditches, and ending up in the Jordan River. Dairy cattle ranching in the area contributes a large amount of organic matter to the Jordan River. This has led to a growth of undesirable plant vegetation at the river’s edge, plus the very uncomfortable smell from these farms.
Mr. Juan Carlos Quevedo is the Jordan Riverkeeper. He serves as the Executive Director of Taller del Territorio Foundation, the parent organization for Jordan Riverkeeper. He has a degree in architecture from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and has done consulting work around architectural design that integrates the use of environmentally friendly materials and clean energy sources (solar and wind). In 1997, Mr. Quevedo moved the city of Tunja where he teaches at Universidad Santo Tomás and Universidad de Boyacá. He researches materials for construction and cleaner technologies for buildings. He is an active member of an architectural preservation group and active representative for the state of Boyacá chapter of Colombia's National Society of Architects.