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Pineapple companies under criminal investigation in Costa Rica
jueves, 05 de marzo de 2009

 By Leland Baxter-Neal ticotimes.net Two pineapple companies are facing a criminal investigation for allegedly polluting the water of four rural communities with toxic herbicides, while officials believe municipal and health authorities may have overlooked a lack of environmental permits for the plantations.

Agents with the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) raided the offices and storerooms of the two companies and visited their plantations – located in the canton of Siquirres in the humid Caribbean lowlands northeast of San José – to take samples of the chemicals being used.

The raids were conducted Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, and also targeted Siquirres Municipality offices and the local office of the Public Health Ministry, according to a source inside the investigation, who requested her name not be revealed because she hasn't been authorized to speak to the press.


The official said that recent lab tests of water supplies for the communities of Cairo, Francia, Milano and Luisiana showed traces of toxic herbicides, including bromacil, diuron and hexazinone.


“Imagine that our first sample came back with 1.6 (micrograms of bromacil per liter), and it is supposedly supposed to be at 0.5,” the official told The Tico Times Wednesday. “The law is clear that drinking water should not be contaminated with anything.”


The source also said that both the Siquirres Municipality and the local office of the Public Health Ministry appeared to have overlooked a series of requirements, including environmental permits, when authorizing the expansion of the pineapple farms.


See the March 6 print or digital edition of The Tico Times for more on this story.

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