Protestors in Peñuelas have stopped industrial waste trucks from entering the Peñuelas Valley Landfill today, as part of the marches and protests that have been taking place to prevent the deposit of ashes in the landfill.
The protests began after a Court of Appeals allowed for the deposit of ashes to be administered on a landfill in Peñuelas. This decision, taken on November 9th, received backlash from residents of the three communities neighboring the landfill. The protests grew to include hundreds of protesters, and on Friday (11/25) morning, the number reached 1,000, according to El Nuevo Día.
Among the protesters present on Friday were political figures such as Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, and Rafael Bernabe, former candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico. The protests that have taken place this week have resulted in the arrests of over 21 protesters on Monday, and over 30 protesters on Wednesday, including former candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico, María de Lourdes Santiago.
Jimmy Borrero, a participant of the events and member of the Pro-Health and Healthy Environment Committee of Tallaboa Encarnación, challenged the Appeals decision to allow ash depositing, and stated that the Environmental Quality Board of Puerto Rico did not allow that specific type of ash to be deposited on landfills. due to the damage that it can cause on the quality of life of neighboring residents. On the other hand, Randy Jensen, president and CEO of EC Waste, the company that manages the Peñuelas Valley Landfill stated that the attacks on the company are based on a misinformation campaign, and that the actions taken by the company (EC Waste) are both lawful and environmentally conscious, noting that the company’s operational standards meet and exceed the current regulations established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (El Nuevo Día)
The industrial waste trucks scheduled to deposit on Friday were not carrying ashes, according to Jensen.