Polluter in prison

Published: Saturday 31 May 1997

in an
unprecedented move , the Spanish court recently sent a factory owner to prison for causing damage to the environment. For the first time in Europe, such a sentence has been awarded on environmental grounds.

The factory owner, Jose Puignero, who owns textile firms in northeastern Spain, was sentenced to four years and fined about us $50,000. Earlier, a Barcelona court had found his company guilty of dumping chemical dyes and detergents into a river in the town of Sant Bartomeu del Grau which, over several decades, had polluted local groundwater and wells, and the river Teg.

Spain is known for its poor environmental record. The government has been often reprimanded and fined for violations of European environmental rules.

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