Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Piquiá de Baixo residents must scrape metal off their feet everyday

A small town in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, Piquiá de Baixo, suffers from the ongoing pollution from all the nearby steel mills. The 380 families living there that comprise the town say they have grown weary about the ongoing contamination of their water, air and soil. Ironically, the town takes its name from the piquiá tree that became extinct after the five steel plants.

A small town in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, Piquiá de Baixo, suffers from the ongoing pollution from all the nearby steel mills. The 380 families living there that comprise the town say they have grown weary about the ongoing contamination of their water, air and soil.

A small town in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, Piquiá de Baixo, suffers from the ongoing pollution from all the nearby steel mills. The 380 families living there that comprise the town say they have grown weary about the ongoing contamination of their water, air and soil.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Brazil, steel mills. pollution, Piquiá de Baixo


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Presently, 500,000 tons of pig iron, an intermediate product in the process of steel refining are produced every year in Piquiá de Baixo. Pig iron is produced in blast furnaces by smelting iron ore, using charcoal or coke as fuel and limestone as a purifying agent.

The steel industry depends on supplies from Vale's iron ore mines. The pig iron is then transported to Atlantic Ocean ports near São Luis, the state capital.

The families there live in modest dwellings with yards bordering on the grounds of the large steel plants. All are suffering health problems from pollution.

On account of the extremely poor quality of the air they breathe and the water they drink, more than 40 percent of the residents of the town suffer from respiratory illnesses, lung diseases and skin lesions.

Taking arms the families are now demanding a transfer to a clean, safe place far away from the steel plants. The majority are farmers, who now can only work land near their homes. In many of Brazil's mining towns and a number of them are also organizing protests.

The 68-year-old Edvard Dantas Cardeal is the president of the Piquiá de Baixo Residents' Association, whose members are affected by the smoke, soot and residues generated by the 70 smelting furnaces in the area.

"We are in danger, because we live next to five steel mills. In addition, Vale has a railway station just 300 meters from our homes, where every day hundreds of tons of iron ore are transported across our town, 24 hours a day," he says.

Andressa Caldas, head of Justiça Global (Global Justice), a non-governmental organization working for human rights, says the situation is emblematic, because the community which has been settled there for over 50 years "is asking to be transferred due to the degree of environmental degradation and toxic pollution it is suffering."

The lawyer for the Piquiá de Baixo residents, Danilo Chammas concurs. He pointed out that the town already existed when the steel plants arrived 25 years ago. Now, "coexistence has become impossible, as the local people are forced to breathe iron ore dust mixed with charcoal every day," he said.

"The families should have been relocated when the steelmaking complex was built; but a move is still the only alternative, and is urgently needed," he says.

Chammas said the residents are demanding "a greater commitment by Vale to the local people; and the company should contribute resources toward the building of a new settlement far away from the pollution."

According to the Report on Vale's Unsustainability, the company "refuses to make reparations for the harm caused these people, or to cover the cost of their resettlement."

Cardeal also said his community's demand is a matter of utmost urgency, as they cannot stay there any longer. "We cannot stand it any longer; the steel mills pollute the river that flows through the town, and all we can do is ask God to get us out of this place," he said.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Americas

Is the Cold War over? Congress pushes for end of restrictions on travel with Cuba Watch

Image of President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro have been working together to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's inroads into warming relations between the United States and Cuba is being supported by a bipartisan group of Senators, who on Thursday unveiled a bill that would end travel restrictions for Americans who wish to visit Cuba. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Castro making demands: Won't budge an inch on Cuban sovereignty in opening relations to U.S. Watch

Image of

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Cuban President Raul Castro, brother of longtime dictator Fidel Castro appears to welcome normalizing U.S. relations. His compatriots wish to end the isolation that was visited upon the Caribbean nation since the communists took over in the 1950s. However - ... continue reading


IT'S MINE! Traders, tycoons and miners all vying for possession of Brazil's 180,000-carat Bahia Emerald Watch

Image of For the time being, the gem is now held in an undisclosed Sheriff's Department location.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ever since human eyes laid upon it in 2001, Brazil's Bahia Emerald has been caught in an ongoing tug of war between those who say the gem is rightfully theirs. Landing in an L.A. County sheriff's locker, the 180,000-carat, 840-pound behemoth has been the ... continue reading


THE RISE OF WOMEN: Negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba begin with two influential women leading the way Watch

Image of Jacobson and Vidal cover everything from human rights to tourist travels during the beginning of negotiations between Cuba and the U.S.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama recently loosened the embargo the United States has with Cuba. Now the next step is to negotiate and work towards less hostility and normalizing the relationship between the two countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the base of these ... continue reading


Murderous gang violence plagues El Salvador every day with no end in sight, ambitious new plan offers hope Watch

Image of Gangs run the streets in El Salvador, often leaving people terrified to be out at night.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

412 people were murdered in El Salvador during December 2014. A total of 3,942 murders occurred last year in what is now the most dangerous country in the world. A 57 percent increase than those killed in 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Violent gangs have ... continue reading


AMAZING discovery - mummy mask contains fragment of the Gospel of Mark Watch

Image of A fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found used in the mask, making it the oldest known example of Holy Scripture yet found.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mask is frequently used to conceal an identity. This is certainly the case of a mask used to cover up a mummy. A fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found used in the mask, making it the oldest known example of Holy Scripture yet found. Created before 90 ... continue reading


A good or bad idea? Under the Obama administration, U.S. softens embargo with Cuba Watch

Image of Cuban flags fly high as embargo is loosened.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The relationship between the United States and Cuba will soon change as the Obama administration begins to slowly erase the 1962 U.S. embargo against Cuba. An increased amount of travel and trading between the two countries will open up. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Five years later Haiti still tragically suffers from 2010's earthquake: Where did $13.5 billion dollars in relief funds go? Watch

Image of Much of Haiti remains devastated after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010, despite raising $13.5 dollars in relief funds.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Haiti in 2010 destroying nearly everything, and leaving 220,000 people dead and 300,000 injured. The entire world was shaken by this disaster; 13.5 billion dollars in donations and pledges was raised to help the country recover. LOS ... continue reading


CANNIBAL RITUAL: Mexican cartel members forced to eat human hearts Watch

Image of Arguably the country's most horrific organized crime gang, Michoacan state suffers daily from ongoing battles between rival factions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Decapitating and ripping apart their still-living victims, the dreaded Knights Templar Mexican drug cartel forced members to devour the hearts of its enemies. The Knights Templar, reigning over Michoacan state, has kept the region in its iron grip by armed ... continue reading


Brazil looks forward to 2016 Olympics, but should their government be looking closer to home? Watch

Image of Brazil's drug trade primarily is based on cocaine and marijuana, and many slums in the cities are devoted and run to the drug trafficking gangs.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vila Alianca, an unofficial section of Rio de Jeneiro,  is an enclave of violence and organized crime, and one of the regions that the Brazilian government has not decided to try to pacify prior to their hosting of the 2016 Olympics. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter