At least 40 minors suffered symptoms of intoxication this Tuesday (14) due to a new episode of gas emission in the city of Quintero, an area known as “Chilean Chernobyl” since a chemical spill affected 1,700 in 2018.
The mayor of the municipality, Maurício Carrasco , informed the local press that those affected are mainly students from schools and day care centers in the coastal city, where more than 14 industries are located, including thermoelectric plants, oil companies and copper treatment plants. .
“In the morning they were 17, then 40, but now with the daycare centers, we are already past 60 children with some discomfort and I hope it doesn’t continue to increase”, said the mayor of the city, where last week at least other 2018 people were affected by a similar episode.
At the time, the Fire Department confirmed the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air “in concentrations that could be harmful”, which forced the evacuation of two day care centers, said Carrasco.
Quintero and the neighboring town of Puchuncaví – 150 kilometers west of Santiago – form one of the five “sacrifice zones” in the country, spaces full of industrial activity with serious consequences for the health of its inhabitants and for the environment.
Wrapped daily in a toxic cloud of smog, which causes acid rain, the inhabitants of these cities get sick up to four times more than the national average, with respiratory, cardiovascular and malignant tumors, according to a study by the Catholic University and the Sustainable Chile Foundation.
After several days of complaints about possible poisoning, the government issued a health alert last Saturday for the two locations and guaranteed that the closing of factories and industrial facilities would take priority over that of schools.
Also informed that the Ministry of Health will initiate studies from r of July to determine the impact of heavy metals on people living in the affected area and a health remediation program for people in the area who are recovering.
Days before, environmental authorities had already ordered six industries to reduce their activities, with specific restrictions for the state-owned mining company Codelco and the electric company AES Gener.