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Viernes 24 agosto de 2018 | Publicado a las 15:58 · Actualizado a las 16:12
Chilean Government blames state owned oil company for pollution crisis in Quintero
Publicado por: Emilio Lara
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On Thursday, more than 100 people required urgent medical attention due to the emanation of gases within the hydrocarbon family from a National Petroleum Company plant (Enap, in Spanish) in Quintero, Valparaíso region, Chile.

However, the city registered another similar emergency on Tuesday, which left another 70 people with nausea and dizziness in Quintero and Puchuncaví combined.

This Friday, governor Jorge Martínez announced that the local Emergency Management Committee has strong evidence that state owned Enap was to blame for the pollution that affected both cities as well as the recorded intoxication cases, many of them high school students.

“We have ordered the suspension of all operations that may emit any sort of pollution from the local ENAP plant”, Mart√≠nez affirmed, based on the violation of decrees from the Environment Department.

On the other hand, the newly-appointed secretary of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, said that the company could have discharged the gases during maintenance tasks.

“Mainly, said operations are related to the upkeep of tanks which are likely to be the cause of the emissions”, Schmidt added.

Both cities have been considered to be a “sacrifice zone” because of the high concentration of industries, 17 in total.

Greenpeace also accused the Chilean State of furthering this crisis and called to “end this Chilean Chernobyl”. “With the current situation, industries and people can no longer coexist”, Greenpeace Chile director, Mat√≠as Asun, said this afternoon.

To show their discontent, social organizations from Quintero and Puchuncaví marched in front of the presidential palace in Santiago, La Moneda, and took with them 19 requirements for the Executive to ponder.

Among those, they asked the Government to close the Codelco foundry, to regulate arsenic norms and to improve emission standards as well as to increase the amount of tests ran on children.

The crisis also produced a bomb disposal operation this Friday morning. The explosive was located under a Quintero pier alongside a sign that read “Businessmen and Mr. Pi√Īera, you do not play with people’s health”.

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