Chile’s first biogas plant inaugurated despite protest
The Ecoprial plant is located 7km from Osorno along a route to its coastal area, has been processing waste from the dairy, meat, fishing and sanitation industries for 14 years. The amount of waste can reach 250 tonnes per day, and neighbouring communities have formed protests against the odour on more than one occasion.
The biogas plant's opening was no different, as it was reportedly marked by demonstrations from neighbouring towns' residents, alleging contamination and interference by foreign officials.
About $8 million (€7.5m) was invested into the plant, with about $320,000 (€300k) of this coming from Canada. Canadian ambassador to Chile Michael Gort was asked by Radio Bio Bio about neighbours' complaints, to which he responded "many lessons have been learned form the past", and that the application of new technologies enable coexistence.
Ecoprial manager Raul Albrecht added that errors had been identified, enabling the rectification of contamination from odours.
“There will always be the issue of odour because obviously we work with industrial wastes, but the idea is to confine them within our plant and eliminate them within our plant,” he said.
Pablo Benavidez, director of the Osorno Community Environmental Committee, previously brought charges against Ecoprial for interfering in an ongoing administrative process.
“We believe that the Canadian ambassador has to make excuses about this act and if he knows or does not know what Ecoprial is currently doing, which has a long record of sanctions, inspections," they said.