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Pineapple pollution prickles Guácimo locals
jueves, 08 de mayo de 2008

ticotimes.net Armed with folders of photocopied legal papers, members of the Guácimo municipal council traveled from the agriculturally dense Caribbean plains to San José yesterday looking to halt a nearby pineapple plantation.

Area residents, concerned that toxic herbicides used on the plantation have found their way into the community's drinking water, have been pushing for years to shut down the plantan analysis of the local drinking water showing no detectable amounts of either.


After discovering the company was operating without an approved environmental impact study – a requirement for nearly every development and industry in the country granted by the Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry (SETENA) – the local government stripped Tico Verde of its operational permits, said Erlinda Quesada, one of the city council members in San José this week.


Much of the plantation is spread over steep hills and has produced “severe erosion,” as well as “severe” pollution of the soil and nearby waterways with pesticides and other agrochemicals, the delegation said.


SETENA, following a visit to the site, agreed with local concerns and gave the company four months to complete a “technical closure” of all operations, but then reversed its decision.


“We are not very clear on what they based (the decision) to lift the technical closure order,” Quesada said.


According to a letter from the Environmental Prosecutor, a branch of the Costa Rican Prosecutor's Office, concerns about water contamination are strong enough to warrant a criminal investigation.

 “The proximity of the plantations in relation to the water intake for said community has generated the contamination of water collected for human consumption,” reads a letter directed to SETENA's general secretary, Sonia Espinoza, from environmental prosecutor Luís Diego Hernández.The prosecutor said an analysis of the drinking water showed the presence of bromacil and diuron, both toxic herbicides.

This week, however, Tico Verde handed the municipal council

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