Long-closed plant still plagues Salvadoran town

El Salvador

Inside the former BAES battery factory following the August fire. (Photo, El Salvador President’s Office)

Sitio del Niño, a town of 8,000 located 34 kilometers (21 miles) northwest of San Salvador, has become synonymous with environmental contamination, due to the ongoing public health threat posed by a long-shuttered vehicle-battery manufacturing plant there. Concern about the problem spiked in August, when a major fire consumed what remained of the Baterías de El Salvador (BAES) plant, which ceased operations in 2007. The site contained 33,000 tons of lead slag and ash and 50,000 tons of other toxic waste such as selenium, arsenic and sulfuric acid that were supposed to have been removed under a Salvadoran Supreme Court order issued in 2015. The El Salvador Firefighting Corps has concluded there was a “criminal hand” in the blaze, and the Civil Protection Directorate declared a local health emergency, evacuating 300 people who lived near the factory site. As of this month, the agency in charge of cleanup... [Log in to read more]

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