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News // Crime

PVC Managers Get Away with Manslaughter and Causing Environmental Disaster

08 November 2001 , 07:44491
Greenpeace declared today to be ?a dark day for environmental
justice? as twenty eight senior managers of
petrochemical companies Enichem and Montedison
were acquitted of charges of mass manslaughter and
environmental disaster by an Italian court this afternoon.
The managers had been accused of mismanaging their
VCM and PVC production plants, causing cancer
amongst PVC workers and environmental disaster in the
Venice Lagoon.

?This is a dark day for environmental justice and for
workers and communities around the world whose lives
are blighted by exposure to toxic pollution caused by
PVC manufacturing and production. If industries are not
held accountable for their environmental crimes, they will
continue to poison workers, communities and the
environment around the world. Today?s society should no
longer tolerate this,? said Domitilla Senni, Executive
Director of Greenpeace Italy, outside the court room in
Mestre, Venice.

Greenpeace activists held a silent protest outside the
courtroom today out of respect for the hundreds of
Enichem and Montedison workers that have died or
fallen ill as a result of the companies? polluting practices. The case was instigated by the workers when, in
1994, a retired PVC worker, Gabriele Bortolozzo,
approached public prosecutor Felice Casson in Venice
accusing the petrochemical companies of negligence
and complaining that many workers were falling ill.

Greenpeace analysis, published in 1995, revealed that
sediment in the Venice Lagoon is amongst the most
contaminated with dioxins in the world. The report led
to further investigations into the state of the industrial
area of the Lagoon. These resulted in charges of
environmental damage and food contamination being
leveled against the petrochemical company managers.
Dioxins had been released by Montedison and are still
being poured into the Lagoon by Enichem and other
industries of Porto Marghera, that use chlorine as part of
their manufacturing processes.

In December 1996, after Casson published a list of 257
victims of the industries and submitted another 116
names of people who had already died as a
consequence of the substances they had been working
with, the managers were also charged with
manslaughter. Medical records, together with internal
company notes, indicate that the companies knew the
risks their production processes posed as early as
1972. The trial started on 13th of March 1998.

?The Venice Lagoon is just one of many areas around
the world that are being poisoned by irresponsible
companies and, sadly, these Italian workers represent
just some of many that are suffering as a result.
Despite today?s ruling, Greenpeace will continue to
expose the dangers posed by industries that use and
produce chlorine and do whatever it can to protect the
environment and communities around the world. There is
no place for dirty production in the 21st century,?
concluded Senni.

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