A Colombian environmental authority has forced palm oil company Poligrow Colombia to suspend various operations due to alleged infractions that include wastewater dumping and letting compost runoff leach into the local forest. The department of Meta governmental organization CORMACARENA has claimed that the company has committed a litany of violations and demanded that they stop as a sanctioning process begins.
Among the operations in question are: dumping industrial wastewaters into forests and palm groves, dumping leachates from the firm’s compost site, blocking water flow with an illicit cement dike that never received a permit, and improperly using local water for industrial use in the company’s palm oil extraction plant. The suspension will last for six months or until Poligrow remedies the violations in question.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a U.K.-based NGO, praised the move, highlighting that the decision will help preserve the local forest and population and noting that similar actions may be required when against other industry companies that are flouting environmental regulations.
“The communities and lands affected by Poligrow will only be protected if governments and consumer markets demand oil palm companies comply with the law,” said Sascha von Bismarck, the EIA’s executive director. “EIA welcomes actions by CORMACARENA, but continued oversight of compliance — and the full attention of the Colombian Ministry of Environment — is necessary to ensure the company suspends operations, and resolves the root causes of the listed infractions.”