In June, Deputy Leonardo Grosso (Frente de Todos) presented before the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation, a bill of minimum environmental protection budgets for the handling and application of agrochemical products. Specifically, it seeks to prohibit “all aerial applications of agrochemicals and terrestrial, manual or mechanical, of agrochemicals within one thousand five hundred (1,500) meters of urban areas, permanent housing, rural schools, human settlements, beekeeping plants, production and industrialization of animal products; rivers, streams, lagoons, courses, mirrors, reservoirs, dikes and water wells ”.
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The importance of said bill, among other assumptions, starts from the basis of establishing a standard of minimum budgets which grants a uniform or common environmental protection for the entire national territory, and aims to impose necessary conditions to ensure environmental protection . The normative text is part of the State’s duty to preserve the human environment to the extent that it houses the health of citizens and safeguards their quality of life, which should configure its main objective (41 of the CN) and that in turn, it has been accepted by the General Environmental Law within the framework of the principles of environmental public policy.
Among the most notable aspects of the project the following can be mentioned:
Establishes minimum distances for the application of agrochemicals: art. 2 of the project prohibits the application, handling and storage of agrochemicals in urban areas and the obligation to establish a minimum distance of 1500 meters from urban areas, permanent homes, etc. It also establishes that in the event of a reasonable doubt about the delimitation of the environmental protection area, it will be the obligation of the person who is going to apply the agrochemical to request the delimitation of the prohibited area.
Regarding environmental damage, in art. 5 of the project, has an important forecast around responsibility. Thus, it presumes, unless proven otherwise, that whoever applies the agrochemical within the area of environmental protection is responsible for the collective environmental damage caused. Likewise, it provides for a system of joint and several liability (jointly) of all the people who intervened in the application of the product, including the producers, usufructuaries, tenants, and any other person responsible for the property on which the product is applied. Said responsibility is extended in turn to the competent authorities that have not acted in a diligent manner when applying the law. Furthermore, the law obliges the latter to apply any ex officio measure tending to comply with the regulations.
From the content of the normative text arises, even if not expressly, the orientation of the rules arranged from the precautionary principle, cardinal in the environmental law microsystem. This establishes that the absence of scientific information will not be a reason to postpone the adoption of effective measures to prevent the degradation of the environment in the face of a danger of serious or irreversible damage, in this situation and in the event of a hypothetical negative impact on the environment and the health of The population due to the exposure of agrochemicals should apply this principle, and restrict or regulate its use in such a way as to prevent any harmful impact.
The initiative is important because it makes visible the problems posed by the use and application of these products indiscriminately and allows us to discuss this aspect of the problem, which until now has been casuistically resolved by numerous local courts, guaranteeing safe application distances. Argentina leads the world ranking in terms of the amount of glyphosate used in its agricultural production and there are no doubts about the toxic, acute and chronic effect that agrochemicals have on the health of the population in particular and the environmental impact at a general level. It is therefore essential that the State, within the framework of its powers, issue public policies aimed at defending the environment, thus guaranteeing respect for a fundamental human right such as health.