Ministry of the Environment fighting the sale of Palm Sunday fronds

14 de marzo de 2013 - 00:00

With Catholic Holy Week around the corner, the Ministry of the Environment will be busy controlling the sale of the palm leaves, traditionally used in Palm Sunday processions and displays.

The wax palms, native to the Andes, are protected because they take 50 years to reach maturity and are the only habitat of several species of endangered parrots and parakeets in the lowlands. People are being told to replace the traditional materials in their displays with pine branches or rosemary.

Twelve technicians from the department of the environment as well as environmental police units will visit the counties where the palm trees grow: El Cisne, Chuquiribamba, Quilanga, Espíndola and Saraguro, and 11 others. The diocese of Loja is involved: they hope their parsons will get the conservation message out during the eucharist.

The fine for selling the palm fronds can be as high as $4,000. Anyone discovered harvesting the trees could be forced to pay up to $20,000.

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