Environmental Impact Study Determines Effect of Upgrading Paraguay Roads
Paraguay is located in south-central South America, bordered by Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. Most of its 5.5 million residents reside in eastern Paraguay, between the Parana and Paraguay Rivers. The Chaco region is located west of the Paraguay River. From east to west its climate becomes progressively drier, going from marshes and jungles in the east to grasslands and scrub in the west. The project is located in western Chaco where the land is flat and nearly uninhabited.
Nearly all routes across the Chaco region are unimproved dirt roads. Better roads are needed to improve the economic development of the farming communities in the region. Improved transportation will allow the dairy and meat industries in the region to sell products more easily to the country's capital, Asuncion, and neighboring countries. Regional trade between the countries is expected to increase substantially with the improved roads.
The Ministry of Public Works, Road Department, contracted with Stanley Consultants to perform an environmental impact study. Seven routes, having a total length of 1,600 kilometers, were analyzed. The study was a requirement of the loan, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.
Stanley Consultants provided overall project management and technical expertise in the areas of hydrology; traffic studies; interviews with affected populations, including indigenous groups; inventory of flora and fauna in the affected region, and other environmental studies.
Two public meetings were organized and held in the region. In addition, an emergency response plan for accidents involving hazardous materials that may be transported across the region was developed. This included a seminar for interested public agencies.