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Historic ruling: Judge prohibits spraying within 800 and 3,000 meters of urbanization

Historic ruling: Judge prohibits spraying within 800 and 3,000 meters of urbanization

On February 5, the Rafaela District Judge, Duilio Hail, issued a resolution in the environmental protection trial that more than 40 residents presented - with the sponsorship of the General Defender of the province of Santa Fe - in order to keeping agrochemical spraying at a “reasonable” distance from the population, defending the health of the community.

The judge ordered, as a precautionary measure and until the end of the trial, the prohibition of spraying with agrochemicals at a distance of less than 800 meters with terrestrial methods, counting from the limit of the urban plant of Sastre, also remembering that it is in force the prohibition of aerial spraying within 3,000 meters of the same limit.

The measure, of a historical nature, takes effect automatically from the notifications that were sent to the parties involved, according to the sponsoring lawyer of the self-convened neighbors of Sastre, grouped in the Citizen Union for Life and the Environment.

The Ombudsman's Office that represents the neighbors, had requested as a precautionary measure the suspension of land fumigations at 1,000 meters and aerial spraying at a distance of 1500 meters from the completion of the urban area with all kinds of agrochemicals.

It should be remembered that in Sastre, which has just over six thousand inhabitants, the rate of oncological diseases is one third higher than the national average, as a result of a study by the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the National University of Rosario (UNR ) that was presented to the Municipality after a health camp that took place in March 2017.

In the ruling, Hail contested the legal actions presented by the municipality, the producers and the provincial government that, at all times, argued in favor of continuing with the applications in the vicinity of the urban ejido despite the claims of the neighbors. Among others, he referred to the resources used by the municipality, such as the issuance of a new ordinance during the processing of the judicial claim against him, to try to make the protection lose meaning.

The judge explains that the defendant Municipality itself "recognizes the existence of a regulation contrary to law when in its modification it drastically expands the perimeter of aerial fumigation and doubles that of ground fumigation, to that circumstance the documents accompanied by the actors, particularly planes and photographs that were 'explained' in situ at the hearing on 10-29-19 with the attendees indicating the location of the clubs, schools and homes of the claimants near the urban perimeter ”. The modification to which the ruling refers is the expansion of the fumigable area - which has been in force since September last year - by air to 3,000 meters and by land from 100 to 200.

Likewise, the ruling takes into account the reports of the International Agency for Cancer Research under the WHO of March 20, 2015 presented by the complaint and referenced by the prosecution, said reports "qualify the herbicide glyphosate as 'potentially carcinogenic' "It also mentions investigations by the CONICET Molecular Embryology Laboratory (UBA) and another prepared by the UNL in the framework of the" Peralta "case, as well as national and European Union antecedents, according to the newspaper Tiempo Argentino.

Right to claim

"Legal or unilateral circumstances cannot be invoked to deprive the opponent of his right to claim, as it would be very easy to evade the actions of Justice," the ruling indicates, and as a graphic example that "a creditor could not be deprived of his right because the defendant company changes its corporate name or because the State changes the name of the currency in circulation. For that reason, the judge rejected that argument and considered that "the existence of conflict persists", and therefore the amparo continues and the precautionary is applicable.

There was also a claim on the legitimacy and representation of the plaintiff neighbors that was rejected, invoking the provisions of the general environmental law. There, the judge takes as a basis the directives imposed by that law and combines them with other principles in the field of environmental protection, health and people in vulnerable situations.

Other resources used to try to lower the lawsuit tried to challenge the inadmissibility of the requested injunction. In this regard, Hail resorted to the foundations of the «precautionary principle: when we are facing ecological damage or those that compromise public health, the classic right to civil liability with compensatory functions cannot be thought of, but rather a preventive opening must be proposed and precautionary ».

At this point, the document incorporates, among a profuse list of jurisprudence, the emblematic case known as Fallo San Jorge, which also imposed a restriction of 800 meters but only in two neighborhoods of the city, and in which it was indicated that in front of environmental and human health issues "the requirement of certainty of harm should be waived."

The magistrate also indicated that, in this case, it is appropriate to carry out an assessment of the rights at stake. «On the one hand, we have a patrimonial type consisting of the right to cultivate the land with the addition of the highest added value by the use of phytosanitary products, while on the other, we are in the presence of the right to health of a contingent of people. I must define myself in favor of the amparistas, the right to health becomes a fundamental good and its impairment could be irreparable, contrary to the patrimonial assets at stake.

Sources: La Opinion newspaper, Diario Castellanos, Digital analysis

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