Climate warning
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Veolia France

Climate warning

A history of corporate negligence, Veolia's environmental destruction and human rights abuse in Colombia

For several years French waste management giant Veolia's operations in Colombia have been having a devastating impact on local communities and the environment, denounces NGO Global Witness in its latest investigation.
Veolia's Yerbabuena landfill, established in 2015 near Patio Bonito, Colombia has contaminated water and food sources in the San Silvestre wetlands, causing severe damage to the ecosystem and endangering the local community. Heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, were found in nearby bodies of water, posing health risks. The landfill's operations have resulted in alarming health effects, including cases of infants born without a brain and a high prevalence of a rare skin condition known as "Job," causing scarring and boils.
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Despite growing concerns, Veolia acquired the landfill in 2019 and failed to improve the situation or prioritise the community's health. The company's negligence has perpetuated the environmental and social devastation caused by the landfill. Since then, Veolia failed to fulfill legal obligations, including building an aqueduct to supply clean water to the community and mitigating environmental damage. Contaminated waters overflowing from the site continue to spread in surrounding water sources, forcing the community to rely on water deliveries by tanker trucks.
Even worse, yes it's possible, environmental defenders who have spoken out against the landfill and Veolia's practices have faced threats and violence from paramilitary groups. Activists like Oscar Sampayo and Dr. Yesid Blanco received death threats, forcing them to flee the area. The suppression of dissent creates a climate of fear, making it difficult for community members to voice their concerns.
Veolia hasn't engaged constructively with defenders or taken meaningful action to address the harms suffered by the community. Once again, Veolia's actions in Colombia underline the urgent need for corporate accountability in the face of human rights and environmental abuses.
We can't have double standards for global South countries, Veolia would never act as such in France or elsewhere in Europe, accountability now.

Do you agree?

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  • Johannes Luiga

    56 w

    Truly sad. This has to stop!

    • We Don't Have Time

      59 w

      Dear Sarah Chabane Thank you for getting your climate warning to level 2! We have reached out to Veolia France and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! /Adam We Don't Have Time

      • Daniel Waweru

        59 w

        These actions are discouraging, measures to hold them accountable should be actualized

        • Hilda Wangui

          59 w

          Action led by negligence should be fined harshly.

          • Munene Mugambi

            59 w

            Such actions should be punishable by law

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