Amicus curiae to defend the right to health and the environment in Alta Gracia

Amicus curiae

The field of Human Rights of FUNDEPS presents amicus curiae demanding the effective application of the ban on fumigating in areas of protected environmental area in Alta Gracia to adequately protect the right to health and a healthy environment for the people.

The field of Human Rights of the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policy (FUNDEPS) filed an amicus curiae before the chamber No. 8 of the Civil and Commercial Court of the City of Córdoba, which has to decide on an appeal given by the agro-industrial company Verdol S.A. to obtain, through a preventative measure, permission to use agrochemicals in the area established by the town of Alta Gracia as “Protected Environmental Area.”

In October 2012, the City Council of the city of Alta Gracia passed ordinance 9375 that, among other things, establishes a “Protected Environmental Area,” of 1500 meters from urban areas or permanent settlements.
This ordinance was the achieved through the work of social movements that sought to protect outlying districts of Alta Gracia from chronic exposure to agrochemicals.
The reasons justifying the ordinance are clearly stated, for example, “that all agrochemicals are potentially toxic” and “that the chronic and repeated exposure over long periods of time, and not necessarily elevated amounts of agrochemicals, could cause medical conditions”.
Such chronic exposure appears to have affected the San Juan Park District, adjacent to the grounds of Verdol S.A., where the Department of Allergy and Immunology of the National Clinical Hospital, part of the National University of Córdoba, detected levels of disease far above the average.
According to a study in this community, “51% of the surveyed population is afflicted with an illness,” particularly children.
In this context, ordinance 9375 appears as the minimum measure to protect health and the environment affected by agricultural practices in the area.
It involves the application of the precautionary principle, expressly stated in the General Environmental Act which affirms that “when there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of information or scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing the adoption of effective measures, depending on costs, to prevent degradation of the environment. “
However, the decision of the City Council was challenged in court by Verdol S.A., which filed an action of unconstitutionality against the ordinance.
It also requested an injunction to get a temporary authorization to use agrochemicals until the case is decided.
FUNDEPS filed an amicus curiae arguing that the ordinance adequately protects health and the environment and was issued within the framework of municipal powers.
It also details that the main risk is not a profit decline, but the violation of the right to health and a healthy environment.
The constitutional obligations to protect health and the environment require the rejection of the interim to allow effective implementation of Ordinance 9375 of the Municipality of Alta Gracia.
More information:
Text of the amicus curiae submitted by FUNDEPS
Translated by Robyn Franklin