A Travellerspoint blog

Murky Waters

The Matanza Riachuelo Basin

sunny 79 °F

All notes and information comes from a lecture given to us by Yanina Rulb, Policy Advisor at the Environmental Commission in the Senate, during her lecture and site-visit on March 18, 2013.


We stepped off of the bus and onto the embankment of the river. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shimmering across the water, the trees were verdant, and we could hear the humm of the highway a few miles away. Yet there was something upsetting about the picture, drifting just below the surface, we knew this area was contaminated. There was trash (plastic shopping bags and aluminum cans) collected along the riverbank. The waters had a dark cloudy complexion. From far away we could see an unmarked pipe sputtering god knows what into the water. Across the river we saw shanty towns - settlements of concrete and wire fencing gathered along the river. One could only imagine the health effects living in such close quarters with these murky waters.


Environmental Injustice - 5 Million People live in the Infected Zone
Lots of waste is dumped into the river from metal processing industries, leather tanning factories, and the preparation of cereals and meats to be exported out of the country.
368,000m3 of Sewage Dumped EVERY DAY!
88,000m3 of Industrial Waste Dumped EVERY DAY!

With no National Emission Registry its difficult to regulate the dumping of factories and industries along the river, it i very difficult to control the pollution of the natural environment.

"Villa Inflammable" - A famous shanty-town with poor environmental health indicators and exposure to chemicals/toxins.
(nickel, lead, chromium, arsenic, phenol, benzene, xylene, toluene, chlorinated hydrocarbons, pesticides, herbicides)
50x Max Levels of Mercury, Zinc, Lead, and Chromium
5x the Levels of Chromium and Lead found in Children's Blood

Effects of Toxics in Our Body:
- Severe Neurological Damage
- Gastroentological
- Neumonologic
- Carcinogenic
- Affects Nervous System
- Malformation

2008 National Court of Justice pushed the Government of the City and Province of Buenos Aires to set concrete deadlines for an action clean -up plan.
Step Forward!
1. Started Clean Production Programs with some Industries (Criticism: Slow Process)
2. Relocation of Poor Settings (Although Villa Inflamable still Exists)
3. Work on Waste and Open Dumping
4. "Camino de Sirga": Visible Changes
5. Removal of Cars and Wrecks from River
6. Register Effluent Emissions

Some parts of the River are being restored - turtles have returned.

Posted by Fabian1993 19:30 Archived in Argentina Tagged rivers shantytown riachuelo matanza environmentaljustice

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