Activists continue to fight for a law that protects wetlands and curbs ranching.
The pungent smell of smoke wakes up the citizens. Visibility on the streets is minimal. Consultations for discomfort in the respiratory tract are multiplied. The recommendation is that people stay at home and with the windows closed. Social unrest is growing due to the inaction of the authorities.
This is the panorama with which the inhabitants of the city of Rosario woke up, located 300 kilometers from Buenos Aires, and which, for years, has been one of the main affected by the burning of land that is carried out intentionally to leave free space for agricultural activities.
Complaints about the aggravation of contamination began to resurface on Sunday night, but at dawn on Monday the situation was already critical again.
Photographs and videos were disseminated on social networks showing the intense spread of smoke, the sources of fire and the way in which it affects the population.
The emergency is of such magnitude that the smoke overshadowed the International Book Fair of Rosario, inaugurated by the writer Claudia Pineiro with a speech in which she denounced the fires.
“While we are here, trying to think what to put the body on, what can be an urgent text for this occasion, the wetlands burn, they burn them, and in Rosario you can’t breathe“, he warned.
In addition to emphasizing that it is an urgent issue, the author chose to look for words that name the crisis, such as “ecocide”, which is the destruction of a large part of the environment of a territory, especially if it is intentional and irreversible.
“In the face of the ecocide in Parana, how can you talk about books? How can you talk about books if you can’t breathe? How can you read if you can’t breathe?” he lamented.
But the disaster does not yield. Matias de Bueno, director of the Environmental Observatory of the National University of Rosario, stated that, according to satellite data, air quality is six times more polluted than recommended.
“There are about ten thousand hectares that are lit along the wetland, the southeast wind came early because we expected this for tomorrow and today we are like this,” he explained in an interview with LT8 radio in which he recalled that the activists had already warned that , to alleviate the crisis, occasional operations are useless.
“If (the brigade members and the Army) come to put out the fire, as soon as they finish and leave the place, it will light up again. The solution is to have a permanent prevention security force, not one that plays a firefighter. We must provide an interjurisdictional security force that can work in the territory, made up of federal forces plus local ones,” he said.
“In Rosario you can’t breathe”… what else can they take away from us than the air?… But here there are those responsible, those who pollute and those who let pollute: the private powers unpunished, the federal and provincial governments, accomplices, the judges, slow and opaque. Rosario, become a river and without delay… pic.twitter.com/npFCMFMd3p
– Oscar Blando (@oscarblando1) September 12, 2022
As an example, he recalled that last month some successful operations were carried out but, as soon as the troops left, the fires reappeared and will continue throughout the week because there is no forecast of rain.
Intentional fires in the Parana River Delta have caused an environmental emergency this year in the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Rios and Santa Fe, where At least 100,000 hectares have already been burned.
One of the most affected cities is Rosario (Santa Fe), where thousands of people have marched on several occasions to denounce the inaction of both local and national authorities, since the fires are repeated annually without concrete action against the responsible.
Intentional burning is a common practice in the wetlands of the Delta islands, as it is the way in which farmers prepare the land for the crops they plant in September, but in recent years the fires have begun to get out of control. Added to this is real estate speculation that bets on clearing and taking advantage of land to build new properties.
For this reason, environmental organizations denounce that the indiscriminate advance of agriculture and livestock is part of the long chain of crimes that affect ecosystems.
They have also insisted before the Supreme Court of Justice that an emergency committee be created to stop the burning and allow state intervention in the wetlands, which is resisted by the producers because it would affect their income.
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