Doe Run Peru emits 1,070 cubic meters of toxic smoke daily

Living in Peru
Israel J. Ruiz

Doe Run Peru’s poly-metallic smelting plant in La Oroya, a town in the highland region of Junin, emits 1,070 cubic meters of toxic smoke everyday, affirmed Washington Mori Andrade, the executive secretary of an environmental group in the region.

According to Mori, the toxic smoke given off by the plant contains fifteen metals that are dangerous to people’s health.

It was reported that in the past few days pollution has been worse and despite the fact that citizens are used to the smell of sulfur, they have had to cover their mouths and noses because of increased contamination to the town’s air.

Mori explained that the smoke emitted by Doe Run Peru’s smelter contained sulfur dioxide, lead, cadmium, zinc, arsenic, molybdenum, mercury, barium, beryllium, cesium, cobalt, platinum, antimony, thallium, tungsten and uranium.

The executive secretary added that this information had been confirmed by the Saint Louis University, which has done research in the highland region.

In response, Kaimer Dolmos, an engineer at Doe Run assured that the concentration of gas registered in the area was due to cold weather and a lack of wind.

"The problem is momentary," said Dolmos.

He explained that the company had invested $29 million in the construction of a new sulfuric acid plant that is reduce pollution and be ready by the end of September.

"With these state-of-the-art installations, emissions of sulfur dioxide will be reduced up to 60 percent and there will be a cleaner environment."