08 August 2008

Rosario sues over the smoke

A nuestra derecha, el incendio The municipality of Rosario is taking the case of the smoke coming from the islands to the Supreme Court. As I've reported on several occasions, people who own fields on the islands on the Paraná river's floodplain have been setting the scrub on fire, a traditional and cheap way to clear the land that has gotten out of control. The reason why the fires are so widespread is that farmers are moving all their cattle to the islands and keeping their good fields elsewhere for much more profittable soybean, wheat and sunflower.

Not only is the environmental damage considerable, but the smoke raising from the burning islands decreases the visibility on major road corridors (the Buenos Aires–Rosario Highway and the Rosario–Victoria Bridge), and the falling ashes create health problems.

The islands opposite Rosario are under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Victoria, Entre Ríos. Further south, the delta comes under the jurisdiction of Buenos Aires Province.

After years of putting up with the smoke and seeing how nobody does anything to stop it (except the feverish but insufficient joint operation mounted by the national government through the Environment Secretariat a few months ago when the smoke reached the Center of the Universe, i. e. the City of Buenos Aires), mayor Miguel Lifschitz decided to sue the provinces of Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires, not asking for monetary reparation but to get the authorities to stop the burning, monitor the area, and control its development.

I think this is good idea, seeing how all the friendly talks and meetings have failed.

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