The Volkswagen company is caught up in a fresh environmental scandal. This time, it has been called out by a group of peasants from the state of Puebla, (central Mexico), for “bombarding” the sky with anti-hailstorm cannons in order to manipulate rainfall, an action that has ended with the failure of at least 2,000 hectares of crops.
MTP News testified that the cannons are being activated every 10 seconds when clouds form in the metropolitan area of Puebla. This is a breach of the agreement the company struck with local government and VW itself admitted that it only has permission to detonate them two hours a year.
In August of 2017, federal legislators urged the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) and Sagarpa to prohibit the use of these devices in the face of drought risk.
Volkswagen Mexico’s response to the report by MTP Noticias about its use and scope of anti-hail cannons is that they intend to continue with the bombardment of clouds, in spite of the call of the state government to suspend this activity and avoid a social conflict.
Julio Marín Leal, director of Environmental Management and Sustainability of the German factory, confirmed that each time a cloud is formed, three cannons are activated, called “anti-hail sonic devices,” to drive away hailstorms, with thunderings every seven seconds.
Volkswagen refuses to lose millions
The only reason why Volkswagen Mexico refuses to stop this activity is to avoid losing 20 million dollars in damages (mdd) in new cars.
“The damage is in the order of 20 million dollars, I can tell you that in the last year of 2017 we had this effect,” said Marín Leal when he was questioned about the cost of damages he seeks to prevent.
While the company seeks to negotiate with the state government to continue using the guns, farmers are demanding a payment for the 2,000 hectares of crops they have lost.
However, Marín Leal clarified that the car factory is not willing to negotiate with the complainants compensation claim for the $70 mdp they claim to have lost in crop failure.