A CATHOLIC archbishop has delivered more than 9,500 letters to Peru’s president demanding the clean-up of a town where many children suffer from lead poisoning because of pollution from a smelter. Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, whose jurisdiction includes La Oroya, a town of about 40,000 people high in the Andes, delivered the letters to the office of President Alan Garcia on Tuesday last week.
The archbishop said he expected a response within about 10 days.
The letters, sparked by talk of a government bailout of the smelter’s owner because of a financial crisis, urge the president to “protect and safeguard the development and well-being of all residents of La Oroya” and the surrounding region. The pollution “is a technical problem, but above all, this is an ethical and moral issue,” Archbishop Barreto said.