Daryl Hannah, the actress turned environmentalist, is adding her voice to the campaign demanding redress for the inhabitants of Ecuador’s Amazon region, which has been blighted by 30 years of oil exploration by Texaco.

The 46-year-old star of Splash and Kill Bill was hoping to meet Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, yesterday.On Monday, she toured the region, 100 miles east of Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, where toxic waste dumped by Texaco has seeped into the groundwater causing medical problems including respiratory illnesses, skin infections, infertility and various cancers.

“Obviously they’re [the local Indians] suffering severely,” Ms Hannah argues. “A host of horrors have come their way with the advent of supposed civilisation.”

At stake is the outcome of a long-running lawsuit against Texaco and Chevron, which is being heard in the Amazonian town of Lago Agrio. The court is expected to rule next year.

The plaintiffs are seeking $6bn (£3bn) in damages and clean-up costs. Chevron claims it has already met its obligation to the area, having agreed to pay $40m in clean-up costs in a settlement reached in 1995.