They did not have any environmental authorization nor necessary plant facilities for sewage treatment. For such reasons, the agents of Cundinamarca Regional Autonomous Corporation (CAR), from Bogotá (Colombia), enforced an injunction issued by Judge Nelly Yolanda Villamizar. While operating in collaboration with local police, they shut down ten tanneries, located in the areas of Villapinzón and Chocontá.
Allegedly, according to accusations, all tanneries were totally unauthorized and illegal, as they did not have any permission nor necessary plant facilities to carry out their own activity properly; consequently, they heavily polluted the river Bogotá on the upper edge of its basin. Apparently, they were discharging water, previously employed in the tanning process, into the river, yet they had not carried out any preliminary treatment for sludge disposal. On top of that, in the past months, authorities had already imposed on such “phantom” companies a few closure orders and financial sanctions, which tanneries did not abide by nor paid, though.
In addition to tanneries shutdown, authorities have seized 5,665 bovine hides: 3,150 of them were undergoing tanning process, while the others (2,515) had been already processed and prepared for their launch on the market. They also seized 21 machines, among which 5 drums, and 1,275 kilos of chemicals, including chrome and sodium sulphide.
“We have given evidence that a small group of tanners, based in these municipalities, were pursuing a profitable yet illegal activity, which hugely damaged, in terms of environmental pollution, the river Bogotá – pointed out Néstor Guillermo Franco González, director of CAR –. For several times, the local council attempted to oppose illegal business and, at the same time, provided a few areas to foster industrial conversion and encourage application for environmental authorizations. Despite such attempts, we still have to take action and carry out combined operations, like the one we have just done; we will carry on to prevent any illegal activities and persuade everyone to abide by laws”.
Picture taken from car.gov.co