Almost everyone in La Oroya, Peru, depends on the giant multi-metal smelter and refinery that sprawls across the valley floor. It doesn’t just dominate the city visually, aurally, and olfactorily, but also economically, politically, and psychologically.
That makes most townspeople tolerant of conditions that elsewhere might lead to open rebellion.
Not so Pedro Córdoba Valdivieso, a mechanic who works in the smelter. He is suffering from an incurable lung disease caused by years of inhaling rock dust. And he’s determined to make the company pay.