Peruvian prelate questions if new ministry can fight large polluters
Published: June 2, 2008
LIMA, Peru (CNS) -- The Peruvian government officially created the country's first Environment Ministry, but a prominent archbishop questioned whether the new agency will be effective against large industries that pollute the country's air and water. Although he said the ministry was a necessary step, Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo told Catholic News Service, "My perception is that the current government, like the governments before it, has not made a political decision ... to find a comprehensive solution to the serious problem of environmental contamination." Archbishop Barreto's archdiocese includes La Oroya, a town of about 40,000 people that the New York-based Blacksmith Institute has named one of the 10 most polluted places on the planet. Studies have found dangerous levels of lead in the blood of nearly all the children living in the neighborhood closest to a smelter owned by Doe Run Peru, a subsidiary of the New York-based Renco Group. The Mantaro River, which runs through the Archdiocese of Huancayo, has been seriously polluted over the years by heavy metals and acid drainage from mines and the smelter, sewage and solid waste dumped into it by cities along its banks, and fertilizer and pesticide runoff from farmers' fields.
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .