Peñuelas, Puerto Rico had been the landfill for the AES Corporation and the citizens of the area are protesting this procedure sue to negative impacts of coal combustion and water contamination. The protesters are made up of various communities and environmental groups in Puerto Rico. Although protest have been civil, they have led to more than 60 arrests, involvement from political figures, and even more protest in San Juan.
The protestors have been flooding social media with the hashtags like NoALasCenizas (No to the Ashes) and #PuertoRicoNoEsUnCenicero (Puerto Rico Is Not an Ashtray) which speak on how communities feel about receiving countless loads of ashes from the AES procedures.
Latino USA reached out to the organizers in Peñuelas and spoke to organizers about the reasoning behind the protest and the affects seen on the island’s people. When asked about the occurrences of the past week the organizers said, “the arrests last week have spiked massive protests and greater interest on the issue of coal ash contamination.”
Although the AES didn’t respond immediately when asked about the protest, they have reached out to Latino USA and expressed that the AES-PR provides over 15 percent of the daily power used in the island daily. When asked if they provide a critical service to Puerto Rico, the AES said, “It is reliable and the lowest cost source of energy for the citizens of Puerto Rico who are facing an extremely difficult economy.”
The protests remain underway and it is unclear weather the AES and the protesters are willing to compromise.