Eco-briefs CHILE: Chilean Court Orders Exhumation of Workers Killed by Pollution
SANTIAGO, Jul 23 (Tierramérica).- A Chilean court has ordered the exhumation of 22 former employees of the National Mining Company who are presumed to have died from the accumulative effects of the pollution to which they were exposed during decades of work at the Ventanas copper foundry and refinery, which has been controlled since 2005 by the National Copper Corporation, another state-owned enterprise.
The town of Ventanas, located 180 km northwest of Santiago, has been declared a “sacrificial zone” by the environmental organization Oceana because in addition to the copper foundry, it is also home to three coal-fired thermoelectric power plants.
“No government has taken effective measures to address the situation in Ventanas, and this has allowed companies to act with total impunity,” Oceana executive director Alex Muñoz told Tierramérica.
The court has ordered the exhumation in the next few weeks of the first four bodies of workers believed to have died from high concentrations of different metals in their blood, kidneys and heart, among other organs.
*Source: Inter Press Service.
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