By Luis E. Sabini Fernández
The remains of pesticides, with which laboratories do their great business, are increasingly seen in the basins of streams and rivers, and they are verified with the thousands of fish belly up, too often they can be traced in the same food , in the damages, generally irreversible, on those who operate and bustle with such products, in the appreciable reduction of bees and other insects (the majority beneficial for nature and therefore for humanity), in the congenital malformations that the inhabitants of the rural areas must face between their domestic animals and their own children ...
It seems that the "conspiracy of silence" about the presence of pesticides in "the fields of the homeland" begins to crack.
A decades-long invisibility is coming to an end.
The socialization of an issue as rugged as pollution comes slowly, but steadily. It is very likely that this change in social imaginaries also magazine, like many phenomena that affect environmental health, the "ketchup effect", that one crush and crush and it does not seem to perform and suddenly comes out gusting when one still does not he expected it ...
The "crisis of the countryside" of 2008 was not immune to this problematization. When "public opinion", "society", began to see, alongside the exciting yields of soybeans, their not so exciting health results. The remains of pesticides, with which laboratories do their great business, are increasingly seen in the basins of streams and rivers, and they are verified with the thousands of fish belly up, too often they can be traced in the same food , in the damages, generally irreversible, on those who operate and bustle with such products, in the appreciable reduction of bees and other insects (the majority beneficial for nature and therefore for humanity), in the congenital malformations that the inhabitants of the rural areas must face between their domestic animals and their own children ...
Faced with this unstoppable process of awareness or awareness as Hispanics say, those who privilege themselves with the expansion of pesticides are reacting by trying to "limit" the damage, reduce the open course before such a successful ship goes down ...
And regulatory agencies and bodies come up with projects, as the press says, to "protect the health of the population."
The proposal of those who are both interested in the current production system and aware of the aforementioned problematization is of the Gatopardian type: let's change something so that the system, and even the model, remain as they are.
Of course, it is about doing it as if everything was changed at the root.
In the province of Santa Fe, its legislative chamber has decided to address the issue and has approved a bill "that regulates the handling of pesticides in the province in all its stages" (Page 12, October 17, 2009).
The author of the project tries to tie two flies by the tails: "that the application of the product in the fields and in agriculture is done in the best possible conditions" We came so well with the best conditions (which needed to be specified), but the bottom line " possible ”brings us practically to the starting point. Because "the best possible" could turn out to be highly unsatisfactory.
"Let's face it: let's ask for what is possible"… what is this? The industry has a concept behind the acronym ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable, as low as possible) to legitimize the use of poisons and toxins in the food industry; all the chemical jungle that hides under the name of "additives", food additives.
How does the establishment of ALARA work? The branch of industry that deals with such products informs public regulators to what extent it can dispense with toxins for a profitable commercialization of its products, and the government, technically advised (by bodies and institutions intertwined with the industry) sets these limits as "The good ones" for the presence of such toxins in food.
This concept of safety is not related to health, obviously, it is related to profitability.
This is how "the world" works, or at least the market, do not kid yourself.
The author of the aforementioned project and now all the Santa Fe deputies seek a "control of practices that preventively ensure non-contamination or events that later must be regretted." Let's say things by name: non-contamination is achieved with the suppression of pesticides. With its regulation, limitation and adjustments in management, what is achieved is that there are fewer "accidents", fewer cases of acute intoxication and fewer, in particular, cases that shake us in the media. Because learning about the complaints of conscientious doctors such as Darío Gianfelici or Hugo Gómez Demaio is an increasingly unstoppable phenomenon and a certain restraint in the use of pesticides will lower their visibility. But it doesn't eliminate the problem, far from it.
That is why all the phraseology and discourse of these regulators has false bases.
There will be "sanctions that will be very harsh for episodes that [...] threaten the health of the population."
The law, by admitting the use of pesticides, will only achieve (if it achieves) that the ‘attacks against the health of the population’ are less visible, have less impact.
The current production system, based on pesticides, eliminates biodiversity in huge quantities and, most of the time, irreversibly. And the little fish, frogs and toads, insects in its hundreds of thousands of species, aphids, coleopterans, lepidopterans, all the fauna of invertebrates, small rodents, birds, herbs of all kinds and functions, abandoned by modernity under the contemptuous name of weeds. , they do not usually have, with the exception of some exceptions, rather bipedal, press ... press agents who warn us of their mass disappearance. (one)
And that progressive impoverishment of our biosphere will continue with the use of pesticides, whether measured as the Santa Fe Legislature promises us, or excessive as it is today.
This impact on the biosphere is not indifferent to human health. The toxins that arrive by mere decantation to the waters from where humanity extracts water for itself, will continue to arrive ... a little less. Instead of sudden, acute poisonings, from using (improperly) a plastic container (2) that contained a "remedy" [sic] for ants or a herbicide, to carry water that is then used for cooking, for example, we will have "only" poisoning within ten years due to the action of the same less brutally manipulated chemicals ...
That now excessive environmental pollution will be, at best, measured. Let us at least be aware and do not suggest to "society" that the management of pesticides solves the problem of contamination.
"Pollutant management" only "manages" pollution. The vocabulary helps us.
The elimination of pollutants will allow, in the long run, to recover a healthy environment. Where allergies, autoimmune diseases, asthma, congenital malformations, cancers and many other diseases of humans give up their thrust of the last decade (which coincides "too much" with the galloping industrialization of the fields, that is to say with the model of high-yield agriculture using pesticides).
We know of the caustic comment of the best activists to our proposal: you cannot change everything at once, it is a step, and so on. For this to be true and the measure was not just a make-up of adaptation to "the times", the corresponding words would have to be used: this law proclaims to suppress the disease while leaving its pathogenic agent standing. That is the unacceptable.
Luis E. Sabini Fernandez - Professor of the area of ecology of the Free Chair of Human Rights, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires, journalist, editor of the magazine futures
1- We can notice it indirectly without even visiting rural areas, just passing through roads that cross them: a few decades ago the radiators and windshields of cars used to be filled with small animals run over; nowadays with higher average speed, which makes it less favorable for small and minimal fauna to escape the impact, we can travel hundreds of kilometers and barely "run over" an insect ...
2- It is impossible to thoroughly clean plastic containers (unlike glass ones, for example).