Pollution at Doe Run Peru in La Oroya reaches historic levels

Living in Peru
Israel J. Ruiz

Mining contamination in La Oroya, a town in Peru’s Andes, reached historic and shocking levels last week, reported El Comercio daily.

According to the daily, On Wednesday August 13, the monitoring station located closest to Doe Run Peru’s metallurgical complex registered 27,000 micrograms of sulfur for every cubic meter of air.

Through the Air Quality Standard, Peruvian legislation only permits 354 micrograms of sulfur per cubic meter of air, explained El Comercio.

It was reported that these extremely high levels of sulfur were not only detected by monitors near Doe Run Peru’s complex but also at hotels and in towns such as Marcavalle and Huari, which are several kilometers from the plant.

After reports of high levels of air pollution were released, the General Directorate for Environmental Health (DIGESA) placed the city in a state of emergency from 9:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., reported El Comercio.

Townspeople were told to close the windows to their homes and people with lung problems as well as pregnant women were told not to leave their houses.

Furthermore, it was reported that even though the citizens of La Oroya are used to the smell of sulfur, that day they had to walk through the streets with handkerchiefs covering their mouths and noses.