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In 1984, the Swedish mining company Boliden had toxic waste shipped to Chile, where it was supposed to be properly treated. In reality, some of the waste was dumped on the edge of the desert town of Arica, with disastrous consequences for the health of the inhabitants. In the years that followed, residents developed various cancers and many infants were born with birth defects.
With Arica, director Lars Erdman continues the environmental and health warning work he started in his previous documentary Toxic Plauground, which also triggered legal action against Boliden.