A protective action was brought forth in 2015 by the representatives of the Afro-Colombian Indigenous communities of the Atrato river basin against the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, to stop illegal mining and logging activities that were releasing toxic substances into the Atrato River and its ecosystem. They argued this affected the rights of Afro-Colombian communities and the natural balance of their territories. The communities experienced many diseases because of this contamination, such as diarrhea, dengue, and malaria. In the first instance, the court did not proceed with the protective action because it believed the plaintiffs should pursue popular action. In the second instance, the court found the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the irreparable harm or the ineffectiveness of the class actions for the protection of the rights that they consider violated. When the Constitutional Court took the case up, they gave the Atrato River, its basin, and its tributaries recognition as an entity subject to rights of protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration by the state and ethnic communities. The court cited the precautionary principle as part of its reasoning.