Argentina, zero environment

Argentina, zero environment

By Graciela Cristina Gomez

Considering access to a healthy environment a fundamental human right arises as one of the basic contents of the Stockholm Declaration, in 1972. It is an inalienable and inalienable human right.

"It is an immense sadness to think that nature speaks while mankind does not listen."
Victor hugo

Considering access to a healthy environment a fundamental human right arises as one of the basic contents of the Stockholm Declaration, in 1972. It is an inalienable and inalienable human right.

Ten years earlier, Rachel Carson gave evidence of the impact synthetic substances had on birds and other wildlife.

That is not talked about:

"Every human being is subject to contact with dangerous chemicals, from birth to death. Residues of these products have been found in most river systems, and even in underground currents, in the body of fish, birds, reptiles, wild and domestic animals. In fish from lakes located in remote mountains, in earthworms from sown fields, in bird eggs, and in man himself. Such chemicals are stored in the body of most humans, without discrimination of age, in breast milk and probably in the tissues of unborn children ", he says in his book" Silent Spring. " One of the criticisms she received was: “Silence Mrs. Carson”, and silence is the weapon that pesticide manufacturers used and still use so that the public cannot access the composition of their products. (1)

The scale and consequences that were disrupting sexual development and reproduction, not only in animals, but also in humans, had not yet been realized.

The authors of the book "Our stolen future", in 1996, presented after years of research, the origin of this disorder, chemical substances that supplant natural hormones: "Endocrine Disruptors", interfere with the functioning of the hormonal system through three mechanisms: supplanting natural hormones, blocking their action or increasing or decreasing their levels. These artificial mimics pose a greater danger than natural compounds, because they can persist in the body for years, while plant estrogens are eliminated within a day.

Among other effects of endocrine disruptors is an increase in testicular cancer and endometriosis, abortions, ectopic pregnancies and an alarming rate of breast cancer. The British Medical Journal, in 1992 published a study on male sperm, poor seminal quality, and the decrease in sperm count, which decreased by 45% from 1940 to that date, if this continues in 50 years, men could be unable to reproduce naturally, having to rely on artificial insemination or in vitro techniques. (2)

The cases of children with malformations in Santa Fe and Misiones are another suspicion whose cause may be endocrine disruptors. It is proven, in studies carried out in Spain and Mexico, where they discovered 26 types of malformations, which were due to two or more forms of exposure to pesticides (3) but those who should investigate here, do it from the wrong side, the truth is not must come to light.

The current regulations only take into account the risk of cancer, they do not take into account the special vulnerability of children before their birth and in the first stages of life, nor the effects on the hormonal system, they ignore the additive or interactive effects of these substances.

The only truth is reality (Aristotle):

In the US, 35% of the food consumed has detectable pesticide residues, the analysis methods, however, only detect a third of the more than 600 pesticides in use. (2) In Almería, Spain, more than 500 thousand tons of Peppers were rejected from European markets for containing chemical residues that exceeded the allowed limits, this served to combat harmful pests with beneficial pests, supplanting pesticides. A good example to follow, go back to organic, so the chemical-toxic business would suffer a setback (3)

This is not enough for those who govern us, it is "the denial of the evidence", he would say in his book, "Dangerous Seeds", Jeffrey M. Smith, exposing the lies of industry and governments about what we eat, and the devastating effects of the use of (GMO), genetically modified organisms.

Far from being interested in the evidence whose certainty is already scandalous, the "merchants of life" only think of negotiating and increasing their bank accounts, here are some examples: "Argentina is the world's largest exporter of vegetable oil and has idle capacity , the lowest cost of soy production in the world and the highest milling capacity "," The European Union (EU) wants biofuels to represent 10% of the fuel used for transport in 2020, today they only represent 1%. President Bush wants to increase ethanol consumption, increasing the use of renewable fuels fivefold by 2017. "(4)" The WTO is putting pressure on Europe to consume GMOs. "The Greek government announced an extension of its ban on GM corn seeds of Monsanto, also Austria, Hungary and Poland, the declaration of 172 European regions as GMO Free, and the 5-year moratorium decided in Switzerland, are some examples of the growing rejection of the pro GMO pipelines in the EU ”.

Clear signs of toxicity were found in three of Monsanto's transgenic corn hybrids, and further research is required, (5) so France joined the EU countries that ban the cultivation of that corn, however, in August 2007 Argentina approved it, forgetting the precautionary principle embodied in the General Law 25.675 of the Environment, then the EU did it, therefore, some agronomists believe that it is a holy word, naive! I recently heard one of them talking about this issue on a Reconquista radio station, I felt ashamed of others ... they sell them colored mirrors and they reply: “give me two”, the worst case is that he said he belonged to INTA. In the same way, politicians, media and professionals seem to ignore all this, they are not interested in knowing beyond their noses, I call that "mental anachronism", but they speak with the conviction of experts Read, it does not hurt!

In 1998, the Europeans also tried to ban the import of hormonal beef from the US, the US denounced the measure and the WTO ruled against Europe. The WTO's lack of transparency, its closed-door meetings in the “green room”, the lack of free access to its integrated database and its current power allow it to bypass the laws on health, safety and the environment, which provokes large demonstrations against them, where the slogan is to protest "fair trade, not free trade". (6)

Some 200 multinationals have opened their offices in the vicinity of the European Commission or the European Parliament, from there, their armies of employees, press for their benefit the public powers, the media, scientists and opinion leaders. They spend 1000 million euros a year on lobbying, and for the rent of their offices they pay 300 euros per square meter. It is estimated that there are six lobbyists for each member of the European Parliament, so the decisions that benefit them come out through a tube, more transgenic, fewer laws. These and other unfortunate truths come to light in the book "Toxic Conspiracies", Persecuted Scientists, Silence Buying, and Information Gag. (7)

Confusing and fragmented regulation:

In March 1996, the newspaper La Nación published the following news: “The fragmentation that currently exists among the numerous municipal, provincial and national agencies, in terms of the capacity and authority to achieve adequate environmental management, leads to overlapping jurisdictions, to the weakness of the control, to the breach of norms and certain confusion between policy and objectives ”. Analysis and monitoring of the environment are practically non-existent in the case of most pollutants, in most of the country, there is no adequate basis on which to make decisions about environmental pollution, as a consequence of a fragmentation of institutional responsibilities and lack of coordination has produced a confusing regulatory framework with environmental management, the government does not have a well-developed strategy to address environmental pollution. From that year to date, nothing has changed, but legislation for biofuels, promotions and exemptions for multinationals come out by decree, they cannot wait.

What is lacking in our criminal law is a special title for ecological crime, and ending the policy of "firefighter" acting only in environmental emergencies, without being clear on who is the jurisdictional responsibility. (8)

Relying on the administrative order that is dictated by the provincial governments goes against an adequate legal protection of the environment. To this is added the lack of personnel with adequate training, the lack of existing resources and the pressure made by companies and unions who believe that equating their companies so that they do not pollute is a useless expense, in addition to fear, in the second of them, from job loss. (9)

Regrettable atomic energy:

The security of Atucha I, unleashed the reaction of the inhabitants of Zárate, regional entities and NGOs. In 1987 they demanded information from the Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). It was only in 1990 that the technicians informed them that the Commission's responsibility was limited only to what happened inside the plant and that there was an emergency plan, unknown to the population, never implemented due to lack of budget. Another operative aberration for the accident case was that the potassium iodide tablets delivered to Civil Defense had expired since 1986. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made an inspection visit to evaluate the repair carried out in Atucha I in In 1990, the results were that "the works and repairs were partial, and that undetermined risks continue to be present for the operation of the facility."

The CNEA admitted that the possibility of leasing to other countries the nuclear dump built in Sierra del Medio, near Gastre, Chubut, was contemplated and in 1990 Greenpeace denounced a proposal by the French company Pechiney to deposit European radioactive waste there.

In Sierra Pintada, Mendoza, there are 5,340 drums with residues, which were sent after their treatment in Córdoba to bury them there, and tons of uranium tails. The Malargüe Concentration Plant stopped operating in 1986. There is waste accumulated in 8 blocks with a thickness of 7 meters, an amount greater than 700,000 tons. The radioactivity measured is 4 to 10 times higher than natural radiation levels. The area is characteristic for its strong winds, and the rains scatter them, because these wastes are not protected, the extraction of uranium releases radon gas, very radioactive, which causes lung cancer, increasing the cases of leukemia in the area in children, adult cancer, and chronic respiratory conditions.

The CNEA has another terrible record on the subject: Ezeiza Atomic Center, the water in the area is radioactively contaminated, the Los Gigantes uranium mine, Córdoba, discharged radio and uranium waste into Lake San Roque, until it was closed (10) because it affected Carlos Paz's tourism. Tinogasta Alert! This is how the CNEA acts, these are some antecedents.

Legal protection: more doubts than solutions

Article 18 of Law 25.675 General of the Environment says that Argentines will know what the environmental state of the country is, in its ecological aspects, year by year, since the PEN is obliged through the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development to present a report to Congress. No ordinary citizen knows of these reports. "Every citizen has the right to be consulted and to express an opinion in administrative procedures related to the preservation and protection of the environment" (Article 19), no one was consulted to comment on the installation of the polluting factories in Greater Rosario, nor those installed in Dock Sud, on the contrary, the Supreme Court of Catamarca prohibited the popular consultation on the installation of a uranium mine. It seems that the law does not apply to the entire territory and its provisions are not of public order (Art. 3). Unlike provincial regulations, the law establishes as mandatory the call to a Public Hearing, for those activities that may generate negative effects on the environment (Art.20), whoever has witnessed any of them, tell us.

Santa Fe has Law 10,000 for the Protection of Diffuse Interests. An abbreviated procedural means, from the beginning, a precautionary measure is blocked to avoid further damages. The scope of protection of these interests is restricted only to cases in which the injury comes from acts or omissions of a public or private person in the exercise of public functions.

Articles 41 and 43 of the National Constitution guarantee us a healthy environment, and protection. The proceduralists insist on the urgent need to protect diffuse interests through a collective protection, which can be legitimately exercised by any inhabitant, although a minority trend tends to interpret its scope with the greatest possible restriction.

The inhibitory guardianship is another quick form of protection, to avoid or stop the repetition or continuation of damage, the judge decides without hearing the other party, thus producing some reservations (11).

Some thought of a "per saltum" to reach the Supreme Court for environmental cases, a highly disputed procedural institution, regulated in the US but not here. Its purpose is for cases of institutional gravity, since there is no law that authorizes it, it is unconstitutional. I do not share that idea, beyond the haste required by the issue, it would give the Court more power than it already has with the "certiorari" (art. 280 CPCC), rejecting extraordinary appeals, and also skip instances of the process , benefiting anyone but the environment.

Another discussion is who is procedurally entitled to file an amparo, if the right to defend is collective or diffuse and if the damage is concrete or abstract. The National Civil Chamber, room D, on the notion of affected and right of protection said: "The responsibility for contamination is objective, therefore each one of the members of the affected community has legitimacy to obtain the preservation of the environment." (8) For the civilista Peyrano, we could not grant legal protection to environmental damage with article 1068 of the Civil Code, because that damage is related to diffuse rights and not to subjective ones.

The criminal lawyer Donna, for his part, considers that it is not the way to create open laws, leaving undetermined the amount of substance that is considered harmful, which will be given by an administrative rule, without respecting the principle of determination, or increasing the crimes of danger abstract, violating the principle of legality and guilt.

Zabala de Gonzalez speaks of a "conceptual confusion": the interests to be protected are and must be concrete, certain and determinable, only their ownership is diffuse. (8)

The economic power of the polluters and the humility of the victims have to do with why the doctrine bases strict liability with the aphorism "he who takes advantage of the advantages bears the disadvantages." To speak of compensation for environmental damage is to think ex post, when prevention should be ex before, preventing the damage from occurring. This is the current trend of discrimination, restricting the custodial sentence and replacing it with a fine, even though the damage caused is immeasurable and irreversible.

But nothing is done to legislate environmental crimes as it should, because it is possible, the laws can be improved. Will we ever be able to get out of this "normative sclerosis", as Bidart Campos said, (12) towards a right according to the times and constant changes that we live in? Realities whose treatment and regulation should be a priority in the agendas of the government and the Congress, but everything seems to conspire so that nothing changes and not delegitimize the economic model.

In the face of environmental damage, an ethical model of justice must be offered that enhances prevention, the order of respecting quality of life requirements, whose motto must be: Do not pollute. (8)

For now, we can only hope, in the face of a lawsuit or protection in defense of a healthy environment, that the “iura novit curia” principle works (the judge knows the law). The atmosphere belongs to everyone and therefore also to the judge. Of his children, and of his children's children (12). A good listener, few words are enough.

* Graciela Cristina Gómez - Lawyer (UBA) - Notary Public (UNR) -Romang-Santa Fe-Argentina.


1-Stories of science, "Silent Spring"
2-Rebellion, "The threat of endocrine disruptors" // Health Gazette, "Exposure to endocrine disruptors and alterations of the male urogenital tract"
3-Research and development, "Malformations due to pesticides" // Ideal Habitat "Bugs against bugs"
4-Cuenca Rural, "Biodiesel for export"
5-Index seven, ”The WTO pressures Europe to consume transgenics” // Friends of the Earth "Ecologists and farmers denounce that the EU will approve three potentially dangerous transgenics with the favorable vote of Spain"
6- “Our stolen future”, Theo Colborn-John P. Myers-Dianne Dumanoski, p. 511 and 512
7- , "Pressure groups that threaten the environment and the health of Spanish citizens" // "Toxic conspiracies"
8- "Environmental damage", volume I, Jorge Mosset Iturraspe-Tomas Hutchinson-Edgardo A. Donna, (pages 28-29- 96-113-121-124, and 144).
9- “Environmental damage”, volume II, J. Mosset Iturraspe-T. Hutchinson-E.A. Donna, (pp. 323-328-343 and 351)
10- “Ecological crimes”, Mauricio H. Libster (pages 62 to 67 and 280) // "Actions of CNEA in the country"
11- , ”The damage and its protection through the protection” // ”The collective protection" Consecrated by the Constitutional Reform of 1994 ", by Daniel A. Sabsay (FARN)
12-Bidart Campos, LL, 11/10/2000, Constitutional Law Supplement // "The defense of environmental public goods by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation", Carlos A. Rodríguez, DJ, 07/05/06- 703

Video: Solving for Z. A Calculus of Risk (June 2021).