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Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals

by Fundacion para el Desarrollo de Politicas Sustentables
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals
Protecting Communities Exposed to Agrochemicals

After a research process carried out during 2018, in June we launched the "Agrochemical Emergency" web.

The website is structured based on three objectives. The first is raise awareness about socio-environmental conflicts related to the use of agrochemicals in the province of Córdoba. The second is to provide information and legal resources, tools for the empowerment of communities in their fight for their rights to health and to healthy environment. In the third place, we seek to raise visibility of conflicts through a collaborative platform in which new conflicts can be incorporated, thereby expanding the content.

The mapping on the website is based on an analysis of information collected since 2008, mainly from newspaper articles and online publications related to 17 communities affected by the application of agrochemicals. This includes the towns of Malvinas Argentinas, Barrio Ituzaingo, Channels, Dique Chico, Tyrolean Colony, Alta Gracia, Skirt of Carmen, Colonel Moldes, Marcos Juárez, Montecristo, San Francisco, Huinca Renanco, Morrison, Pozo del Molle, Monte Maíz, Cosquín and Oncativo.

Evidences about "agrochemical emergency" that is lived in the towns of the province of Córdoba are strong enough to structure community based claims. The use of agrochemicals without adequate control by the authorities, non-compliance with current regulations regarding application distances -which also become ineffective for the protection of populations-, are factors that not only affect the environment but also turn into a public health problem. Through the platform they can be made visible, providing a collaborative and open tool that allows the incorporation of new conflicts and access to legal instruments that allow access to environmental justice.

Links:

Credits: Diario La Voz
Credits: Diario La Voz

During 2018 we worked on the mapping of socio-environmental conflicts related to the use of agrochemicals in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. We have been building an online platform called "Agrochemical Emergency" that will soon be able to the public. Its objective is to identify and visualize problems in the different parts of the corners of the province related to the indiscriminate application of agrochemicals, with direct impact in human rights and in life, health and a healthy environment.

The platform describes the conflicts in detail, in order to serve as a tool for information, education and awareness about the problem. Also, it will be a resource to identify the people who defend their right to health and a healthy environment.

In total, we identified 17 communities in vulnerable situations: Malvinas Argentinas, Barrio Ituzaingo, Canals, Dique Chico, Colonia Tirolesa, Alta Gracia, Falda del Carmen, Coronel Moldes, Marcos Juárez, Montecristo, San Francisco, Huinca Renanco, Morrison, Pozo del Molle, Monte Maíz, Cosquín y Oncativo.

Agrochemical emergency is an open and public platform, and the idea is that any person can incorporate new information or new conflicts. Whether from Córdoba or other provinces, in order to locate and make visible the largest number of cases, and achieve greater awareness about this problem.

Links:

In 2018, FUNDEPS, in collaboration with other civil society organizations, made several reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) for its session No. 64.

Among other observations linked to ESCR issues, we criticized the current system of agricultural production, emphasizing the multiple effects on the right to health derived from the use of agrochemicals. We did recommendations regarding the adoption of a national law to regulate the use and application of agrochemicals, and we requested the revision and adaptation of national and provincial regulations to the new categories established by the WHO regarding the classification of agrochemicals. In addition, we recommend the adoption of measures to minimize the impact of the use of these chemical products for agricultural use and the performance of periodic epidemiological evaluations.

After analyzing the national report presented by the Argentine State, as well as the information received from civil society organizations, the UN Committee on Economic Rights, Social and Cultural, released its concluding observations on September evaluating Argentina’s implementation of the International Covenant.

Regarding agriculture, the environment and health, the Committee expressed concern about the increase in the use of pesticides and herbicides that include glyphosate, despite the serious adverse impacts on health and the environment of many of them, indicated as probably carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the WHO.

In this regard, the Committee recommended that Argentina adopt a regulatory framework that includes the application of the precautionary principle regarding the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides, particularly those that include glyphosate, to prevent negative impacts on health.

Committee's concluding observations were in the same line that our recommendations and it provides tools for us to demand that the Argentine State to enforce human rights standards in the area of ESCR.

Links:

In the beginning of October, we organized a workshop about agrochemicals, health and environment" in Colonia Tirolesa, a town located in the center of the province Córdoba. Its main economic activity is agriculture, in particular to the production of potato, soybean and corn. The meeting was an opportunity to continue learning from the experience of communities living near cropfields that are frequently sprayed with pesticides. During this encounter, community members expressed their concerns and feelings on problems, including diseases affecting them.

In addition, members of the "Epidemiology Group of Worthy Science" ("Grupo de Epidemiologia de la Ciencia Digna") from Cordoba and Buenos Aires, shown the results of the of the Environmental Health Surveys carried out in May 2017 in the neighborhood Estación Colonia Tirolesa, which includes about 76 families. The survey was designed to contribute to the visibilization of the health problems suffered by people who are exposed to risks and environmental damage, thus strengthening the fight against the hegemonic model of agricultural production. One of the most striking findings was that, in the past 20 years, the major causes of death were malignant tumors (30%) and respiratory diseases (22%), leaving cardiovascular diseases (19%) to the third place, being this one the main cause of death al national level.

FUNDEPS participated in the workshop by developing capacity-building among the community regarding their right to health and a healthy environment. We were in charge of teaching these rights and how the community members are able to claim for them. Also, we introduced them the possibility to present a local bill to ban the use of chemicals in crops near populated areas, to increase the protection they already have because of the provincial law.

There were also discussions around alternative ways of production, which do not harm the health or the environment, promoted by a local agricultural engineer. His talk focused on agro-ecological practices and how to apply those practices in the field.

Even though community members know that pesticides affect their health and environment, they were not actually aware until the results of the survey were shown. Beginning to take a real awareness of the dangers involved to being exposed permanently to agrochemicals, resulted on a very mobilizing event.

Also, during October, the environmental team of FUNDEPS met with neighbors of Falda del Carmen, another town in the center of the province, in order to further assist them in developing advocacy strategies. Taking into account that for the last year they reported health problems, related to the agrochemical spreading nearby fields, we considered necessary to start taking action together.

Mapping environmetal conflicts

In the last months we have been working in the mapping of socio-environmental conflicts on agrochemicals. Our objective is to identify and make visible the problems suffered by numerous communities from different points of the province of Córdoba with respect to the indiscriminate use and application of pesticides, as their human rights to life, health and a healthy environment are affected.

To achieve this, we are going to develop an open and public virtual platform (map) in which conflicts will be described in detail, in order to serve as a tool for information, education and awareness about the problem, as well as a resource to empower the affected communities to defend their right to health and a healthy environment.

Currently, we are at the stage of information gathering and systematization focusing on 15 communities in a situation of vulnerability: Malvinas Argentinas, Ituzaingo neighborhood, Canals, Chico Dike, Zipline Colony, Alta Gracia, Carmen skirt, Coronel Moldes, Marcos Juarez, Montecristo, San Francisco, Huinca Renanco, Morrison, Pozo del Molle, Monte Maiz.

In the next stage we will get in touch with some of the affected communities to learn more about their fight for their rights and hear their own experiences about the health and environmental problems they are dealing with.

Discussion of a future national law

In Argentina, the government wants to promote a national law to regulate the application of agrochemicals. Therefore, the Ministries of Agroindustry and Environment, together with other ministries and state agencies, prepared a "Report on Good Practices in the Field of Phytosanitary Applications", which was submitted to public consultation for a period of one month.

From FUNDEPS we developed considerations and critics to the report, among them:

a) the Working Group that elaborated the report is integrated in its majority by representatives of the land owners and farmers

b) there is no public health perspective, which must be included in the draft law

c) it does not take into account that sprays cannot be controlled (Why? Because as much as climatic conditions are taken into account, the chemical products that are used have persistence in the environment and are mobilized through water and air even after the application is made)

d) it does not contemplate the principles of prevention and precaution

e) it must be a law of minimum budgets, with the intervention of COFEMA

f) it does not contemplate a regime of infractions and sanctions, among others.

We will continue monitoring and monitoring policies aimed at a future national law, so that they are as participatory and protective as possible of the environment and health of all Argentines.

 

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Organization Information

Fundacion para el Desarrollo de Politicas Sustentables

Location: Cordoba - Argentina
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @fundeps
Project Leader:
Juan Carballo
Cordoba, Cordoba Argentina
$4,079 raised of $10,000 goal
 
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