MAC/20: Mines and Communities

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA

Published by MAC on 2007-06-10

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA

Cemex Dominicana gypsum contamination denounced in Barahona, Dominican Republic

By Teuddy A. Sanchez

10th June 2007

www.elnuevodiario.com.do

BARAHONA - Pollution caused by the company Cemex Dominicana through their exportation of gypsum through local ports is affecting the health of residents of the city, the environment and tourism in the southeast region of Dominican Republic. The situation was denounced by Dr. Edgar Augusto Féliz Méndez, the ex-sub secretary of tourism, who asked for the intervention of officials of Tourism, Mining, the Port Authority and the Environment.

He said that the contamination the company is producing is affecting the environment not only of the city, but the communities of Salinas, La Lista, Cabral, Cachón and Batey Central as well, by the dusts raised when the gypsum is transported in trucks to the ports. "The most deplorable fact is that what the company is doing is a violation of the law 64-00 of the Environment and Natural Resources," says Méndez.

Féliz Méndez said when the gypsum is being loaded in the ports, the dusts are disseminated throughout the "malecon" or waterfront area and other zones of the city, which is causing different sicknesses among residents, such as respiratory problems and lung cancer. "This situation is violating all of the norms which of the tourism agreement IV Polo Turistico, which is based in Barahona," he said. He called upon people and organizations of the town and region of Enriquillo to join forces and confront Cemex Dominicana, to prevent the continued exportations of gypsum through the local piers, to prevent even more people from becoming ill.

Since 1999, through the process of capitalization of Corde, Cemex is administrating the gypsum mining operations. According to Méndez, Cemex must construct a port with their own economic resources in the nearby Alejandro port, in the Curro hills, from which they should carry out their exportations. "Tourism and the mining of gypsum are not compatible, and this is why the moment has arrived for the people of Barahona to protest energetically for the well-being and public health," he said.

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