SANTIAGO – The environmental crisis in Quintero is far from over. Yesterday, more than 150 citizens had to be taken to the hospital with intoxication symptoms. Greenpeace has today criticized president Piñera directly in an interview, as the environment and sustainable energy seem to have become far from priorities to the Chilean government.
As the source of the widespread contamination in the communities of Quintero and Puchuncaví remains unknown, intoxications amongst citizens continue. Yesterday, at least 176 citizens were taken to the hospital with symptoms of intoxications. Among the victims, dozens of students who suffered from the same symptoms earlier victims were diagnosed with. Although the zone has been declared an “emergency zone” the communities continue to suffer. For Senator Fransisco Chahuán reason to call upon president Piñera to declare Quintero a catastrophe zone.
Lamentablemente escolares de escuela básica La Chocota y General Velásquez de #Puchuncaví, con síntomas de intoxicación. Son trasladados desde Cesfam Ventanas a Hospital de #Quintero. Zona de Catástrofe ahora! @sebastianpinera pic.twitter.com/pRUcdZ8aXJ
— Francisco Chahuán (@chahuan) September 25, 2018
Permission for blasting in Chilean mine
Meanwhile on Monday, the Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) gave permission for blasting, or the use of explosives, in the Mina Invierno, a mine on Isla Riesco in the Magallanes Region. The use of explosives for coal extraction has been strongly opposed by environmentalists and was earlier in January rejected by the same SEA, after recommendations of the Environmental Evaluation Commission of Magallanes and opposition of former mayor Jorge Flies. Now, under the new Piñera administration, a boost to the mining project, owned by the COPEC Group, has been given by giving this permission. Citizens had opposed the permission.
Strong critics from Greenpeace
In an interview with CNN Chile, Matías Asun, national director of Greenpeace Chile, has launched a full-blown attack at president Piñera and his environmental policies. He considered the coal extraction an environmental disaster, as wildlife living in nearby National Parks will suffer from the explosives, emissions and transport of the coal. In the area populations of condors, whales and dolphins are found.
Asun also pointed at Quintero and Puchuncaví, as the coal extracted from the Isla Riesco will be used to keep the industry there in operation. He said that “commitments in favor of clean energies are falling apart”, while due to the global rise of sustainable energy, coal soon won´t be profitable anymore.
The Greenpeace director went on by saying that the president is not fulfilling promises made during the elections, and that Piñera already has accumulated a record number of complaints against him because of environmental irresponsibility. Asun: “He said that the children are first. That is not true. Children are not first for this president. He takes dirty energies to areas that are already suffering.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.