Ground has been broken on a $5 billion airport meant to connect Peru’s mountainous Machu Picchu more easily with the outside world, but conservationists are up in arms over the impact the facility will have on the fragile world heritage site.
Opponents of the airport claim1that the environmental ramifications would be huge, and that runoff from the construction would pollute the nearby Lake Piuray, which provides nearly half of Cusco’s water supply. Additionally, the low-flying planes and influx of tourists may damage the sensitive archeological campus.
- 1. “This is a built landscape; there are terraces and routes which were designed by the Incas,” says Natalia Majluf, a Peruvian art historian at Cambridge University who has organised a petition against the new airport. “Putting an airport here would destroy it.”
“It seems ironic and in a way contradictory that here, just 20 minutes from the Sacred Valley, the nucleus of the Inca culture, they want to build an airport – right on top of exactly what the tourists have come here to see,” said the Cusco-based anthropologist Pablo Del Valle.
The petition asks the Peruvian president, Martín Vizcarra, to reconsider or relocate the airport from Chinchero. “I don’t think there’s any significant archeologist or historian working in the Cusco area that hasn’t signed the petition,” says Majluf.
Source: 'It would destroy it': new international airport for Machu Picchu sparks outrage, The Guardian, 15th May 2019