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13 May 2023


Chile: Ventanas industrial complex violates the rights of millions, says UN envoy for human rights and environment

Environmental Justice Atlas

"UN envoy warns of crisis caused by “Chilean Chernobyl”", 13 May 2023

...David Boyd, the United Nations (UN) envoy for human rights and the environment, warned that Chile is facing a “frightening and interconnected environmental crisis” that is violating the rights of millions of people at the industrial complex known as the “Chilean Chernobyl.”

”I smelled the toxic fumes of industry in (the industrial complex) Ventanas and felt them in my throat. I heard the testimony of mothers, with tears in their eyes, who were afraid to send their children to school,“ said Boyd.

The UN representative gave a description of the Ventanas industrial complex, located on the central Chilean coast, in the towns of Puchuncaví and Quinteros, where more than 15 industrial facilities are located, including oil refineries, petrochemical plants, coal-fired plants, gas terminals, and copper smelters.

According to Boyd, people in the area ”suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases“, and there are ”high levels of infant mortality, unacceptable levels of cancer risk in children, and a lower life expectancy.“

Boyd also denounced the water shortages suffered by many rural residents and the deadly air pollution that mainly affects the country's capital, Santiago...

In addition to Ventana, there are four other areas of high environmental pollution: Tocopilla, Mejillones, and Huasco, in the north, and Coronel, in the south of the country.

In Boyd's view, ”Chile faces an overwhelming series of interconnected environmental crises“...