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The Fortnight

Audit of industry

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Oct 15, 1999 | From the print edition

mexico's Environmental Protection Agency ( epa ) plans to release an ecological audit of 218 companies that produce lead emissions. The central government of Mexico is under pressure from environmentalists to bring these polluting units under control. If any of these firms, mostly dealing in metallurgy and mining, fail to meet the environmental standards, then people living around these factories will be tested for lead, said Antonio Azuela, epa 's attorney-general.

The health ministry has already begun inspecting the plants and, so far, four installations have been asked to shut down. Another 28 units found violating environmental regulations will soon face action.

History of sorts was created in the country last year when arrest warrants were issued against two officials for dumping dangerous waste in a dam in Veracruz state. Both were employees of Pemex, a state-run oil company.

Long considered an untouchable, Pemex is blamed for large-scale environmental destruction along the Gulf of Mexico. However, oil spills of a serious nature continued even after the company invested heavily in eco-friendly technology.

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