By Darío Aranda
The Annex of the National Congress looked atypical. Flags of "Monsanto out of Latin America", "Stop fumigating us", were some of the flags that stood out on the third floor. “We are talking about 700 thousand children at risk from fumigations.
In the last campaign 317 million liters of toxic products were used ”, the deputy Antonio Riestra (Popular Unity block) opened the hearing and lamented the absence of the ministries of Agriculture, Science and Health. Leandro García Silva, from the National Ombudsman's Office, recalled that the agency has just published a document requesting the reclassification of agrochemicals and taking into account the chronic effects, the need to take precautionary measures and advance in a way production without chemicals. Elisa Lofler, a teacher at Coronel Suárez, recently retired, in 2011 knew agrochemicals in the worst way: fumigated, with the children in class.
He showed photos of the tractors at meters of children in white coats. "The kids screamed and we locked ourselves in the classroom," he recalled. The complaints were never successful.
In 2012 he fell ill. Tests confirmed that you have endosulfan in your blood. "The rights and dignity of boys are not respected," he lamented.
Leonardo Moreno, a teacher from Luján, explained that they were sprayed when they were in class. He explained that they filed a complaint with the Judiciary, but that the prosecutor filed the case.
The municipality did not even attend to them. Ofelia Montañana, a rural teacher from Concepción del Uruguay, reported to Ufima (Fiscal Unit for Environmental Investigations) fumigations on students in 2012. It was not until August 2014 that they were called to take testimony.
"We are not against anyone's work, yes for the health of children," he clarified. The only official voice was Olga Zattera, coordinator of the National Rural Education Area.
He specified that in Argentina there are 10,200 rural schools, 55 percent of the total number of establishments, and they represent 13 percent of the enrollment. He specified that there is a "federal table" for rural education, they work to "overcome the isolation" of schools, disseminate information, hold meetings, create a data bank and, he specified, work with the document from Senasa (National Health Service) . Marta Verniau, school 24 in the department of Concepción del Uruguay (Entre Ríos) regretted not having the support of her superiors when she denounced the pesticide spraying on children.
“I have four children and six grandchildren. It hurts me to see the gurises intoxicated.
While we discuss whether 100 meters or 500 meters, children get sick and die from this model, "he lamented. The hearing was held on October 28, the room was packed (more than 150 people from social organizations and schools) and was convened by the Popular Unity (UP) bloc, Antonio Riestra, Víctor De Gennaro and Claudio Lozano. Pablo López, from the Left Front, was also present. Jorge Bevacqua, from the Stop Fumigating Schools Campaign and from the Environmental Assembly of Concepción del Uruguay, was one of the managers of installing white “no fumigating” signs in schools in Entre Ríos and informing them not to fumigate.
He spoke directly to the national official. "If we who are few could, how could the Ministry of Education not be able?"
Miryam Gorban, nutritionist from the Chair of Food Sovereignty of the Faculty of Medicine of the UBA, explained that transgenics affect everyone through food.
The deputy Víctor De Gennaro (UP) proposed a bill to prohibit sprinkling within 1000 meters of schools and a food sovereignty law.
And he recognized the limitations: "There are many legislators who vote for the laws of business and death, and reject solidarity and life projects like the ones we are presenting."
Marta Maffei, former legislator and historical reference of Ctera, questioned that the Ministry of Education takes the Senasa manual as a reference. “It was written by the companies,” he denounced and specified the violation of the Education Law: “Article 89 of environmental education is not fulfilled, the 126 that obliges to protect students from any aggression and neither is the obligation of schools safe because they are being inundated with poison.
The person in charge is the Ministry of Education ”.
Coronel Suárez (southwest of Buenos Aires) is the only place in the country where an official study on fumigated schools was carried out. The local Environment Directorate made a detailed report that reveals that there are 41 establishments affected.
For these complaints, they fired the official (Emanuel Garrido) who carried out the study. "More than 90 percent of educational establishments are exposed to drifts and other types of contamination resulting from pesticide applications", indicates and confirms the presence of students with "respiratory conditions", numbness in the lips, headaches, irritability In the view.
It made recommendations to the municipal and provincial authorities: "Immediately protect" the rural educational community and set a strip of 2000 meters.