Chile creates national park to protect Santiago’s glaciers

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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has announced the creation of Santiago Glaciers National Park to protect 46 per cent of the ice contained in the Andes area of the Santiago Metropolitan Region.

The objective is to advance the protection of about 75,000 hectares, which contain glaciers holding 56 per cent of the water in the Metropolitan Region, Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying in a statement.

“Protecting the glaciers has been one of the priorities of our government and we are going to continue along those lines. In addition to their infinite beauty, they are the most important freshwater reserves in the world and they have been receding, losing mass, melting for too long,” Pinera said in the statement.

It is “the first national park in the Metropolitan Region that includes glaciers and, therefore, is a fundamental step to combating the destruction of nature and the drought that is hitting us”, he added.

The new park provides official protection to 368 glaciers, with 118 located in the Olivares River basin and 250 in the Colorado River basin, according to the office of the presidency.

In the glaciers that surround the capital, there is 32 times more water than in the main reservoir, El Yeso, which supplies water to the city, the office added.

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