March 2, 2021

Greenpeace accuses Chile of complicity with environmental damage of thermoelectric plants

Greenpeace accused Tuesday of "complicity" to the Chilean State for the environmental damage caused by thermoelectric plants in the country for decades, after an emergency has been declared in the town of Quinteros in the last hours due to the high concentration of dioxide of sulfur (SO2).

In this context, Greenpeace projected huge digital images in the early morning of one of the sides of the Campiche coal plant, of the American AES Gener, in the coastal area of ​​Quintero-Puchuncaví, to warn of the environmental and health damage that For years the inhabitants of the so-called "sacrifice zones" have faced.

"The situation is dramatic: there are heavy metals on the earth, lead in the blood of neighbors, coal spills, massive poisonings, loss of biodiversity and destruction of marine resources," said Greenpeace's national director in Chile, Matías Asun.

He recalled that the situation is so serious in the area, described by that organization as the Chilean "Chernobyl," that the Supreme Court has already warned that if they generate massive poisoning again, a general evacuation of the area should be generated.

In a statement delivered to journalists, the organization highlighted the "accomplice" role that the State has had with AES Gener, responsible for the four thermoelectric plants that are in Quintero-Puchuncaví, about 130 kilometers northwest of Santiago, and demanded from the Government the Immediate closure of these facilities.

Asun noted that while the World Health Organization (WHO) reports a maximum of 500 units of sulfur dioxide per cubic meter in a span of 10 minutes, the last government alert said Monday that there were 1,411 units per cubic meter for 60 minutes

According to Greenpeace, the plan for the closure of thermoelectric plants in the South American country announced by President Sebastián Piñera is far from having "an ambitious character."

"In practice, what it does is extend the life of thermoelectric plants until 2050. That is, it condemns thousands of Chileans to continue being poisoned for another 30 years," the statement added.

According to Asun, if it were a really ambitious plan "the closure of the thermoelectric plants should take place in 2030 and thus take advantage of the enormous potential of renewable energies that Chile has."

For five decades, the towns of Quintero and Puchuncaví, located in the Valparaíso region, have been the scene of massive poisoning when the installation of industrial plants in the area began, several of them with chemical use or production.

To this environmental landscape that affects the nation, last weekend was added the spill of 40,000 liters of diesel oil near Guarello Island, in the southern region of Magallanes, caused by an error of the private Pacific Steel Company .

According to the maritime authorities, the spill occurred at a terminal of the company on that island, located about 250 kilometers northwest of Puerto Natales and about 2,200 from Santiago, while a fuel transfer was made on land, next to the coast, which after the spill drained into the sea.

Along the same lines, the oil spill was added to the Essal plant, in the southern region of Los Lagos, which had a week in the city of Osorno and about 200,000 people without water supply.

The cut was due to the fact that on July 12, more than 1,100 liters of oil were poured into the water, affecting production systems and leaving the city for six consecutive days without service.

Environmentalists recalled that about 7 million people die annually from the direct cause of environmental pollution, according to figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

. (tagsToTranslate) Greenpeace (t) Chile (t) complicity (t) environmental (t) thermoelectric

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