EL CAIRO, Costa Rica — The raucous honking of a cistern truck carrying potable water rouses residents from their homes here each morning, clanging plastic bottles and tin pots in hand.
''When will it stop,'' says 64-year-old Rufina Najera, lugging a yellow 5-gallon pail stained with dirt to the roadside. "The pineapple companies tell us the water is clean, but the government won't let us drink it.''
Last year, authorities detected small amounts of Bromacil, a pesticide used to thwart insects from pineapple plants, in the local aquifer. Since then, the government has delivered water by truck to nearly 6,000 people.
The crisis has spawned an increasingly volatile movement among residents, who last week blocked the country's principal export artery, Route 32, between the capital of San Jose and the Caribbean port city of Limon, leaving hundreds of cars and trucks stranded for hours.
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