Northern Peru: Jungle Rivers Where the Sweet Water No Longer Flows

Tomas Carijano sat at the front of the canoe, whittling the wooden dart to a deadly point, a blowgun propped against his knee. Then, with a nod, he gave the signal.

On the Macusari River, whose muddy waters flow into the Amazon River here in northern Peru, the pilot cut the engine, letting the canoe slip silently into a tiny inlet. The Indians pushed with poles, and then dipped gourds into the amber water.

"You can drink this," Mr. Carijano said in an Indian dialect through a Spanish interpreter. But "most of the rivers near here are agua salada."

"Agua salada" means water that is highly-saline, toxic, useless for human consumption - made that way by what oil antagonists say are the results of sloppy oil drilling operations. ...

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