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Unilever fined

for environmental pollution


The fine of 10 million Brazilian reais (about 6 million dollars) was imposed, after it had become clear that the company was responsible for a nauseating smell in several neighbourhoods of the city of Goiânia.


Twenty-five neighbourhoods of the state capital of Goiás were affected by the odour, which resulted from problems at the industrial waste treatment plant at Unilever´s factory in the north of the city. Once the company´s responsibility had been established the municipal Department of the Environment ordered a fine of 10 million reais.


According to information provided by experts of the department since Tuesday, August 26 thousands of residents had been exposed to a smell comparable to stinking eggs. Since then the department had received at least 500 complaints by people suffering from headache and nauseas.  


During an on-site inspection the odour was especially strong in the proximity of the waste treatment plant, where high concentrations of sulphuric gas were measured. This toxic gas is produced as part of the decomposition process of organic solids. It affects the mucosa of the respiratory system, causing irritations to everyone upon contact. The company´s operations were exceeding the factory´s and the treatment plant´s capacity, as a result of which the gas was set free.    



From Montevideo, Dieter Schonebohm
September 2, 2008

NdE: Rel-UITA agradece la información suministrada por Jair Krischke

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