Delta is on fire again

The city of Rosario is again suffering the consequences of the fires in the Delta. The result, in addition to ecocide in wetlands, is an exponential increase in cardiorespiratory diseases. It is blatant, the lack of prevention, the apathy and the complicity of the authorities and the organs of control of the State.

In 2020, in a study carried out by the Environmental Laboratory of the Faculty of Exact Sciences, Engineering and Surveying (National University of Rosário), alarming data were provided on the air quality in the city as a result of smoke caused by fires in the island area, with rates up to 5 times higher than normal. Since that year the fires have not stopped.

fires and climate change

The consequences of climate change, which generate high temperatures in Europe, are producing gigantic and devastating fires in France, Portugal, Spain and Greece, as well as on the east coast of the USA, constitute a clear alarm signal that cannot be ignored.

Droughts and heat waves have made fighting fires more difficult, as these conditions facilitate their rapid spread. Scientists point out that climate change will continue to make weather more extreme and fires more frequent and destructive. This includes so-called “megafires”, fires so huge they are nearly unstoppable. You cannot watch a forest burn without feeling enormous sadness.

The Wetlands Law Ignored Again

The Paraná Delta has an area of ​​19,000 km2, within it there are multiple wetlands, they are a mosaic of swamps, fields, pastures, forests and lagoons mixed with streams interacting with the native fauna and population of the island.

It is the natural habitat of 700 species of plants and a diversity of coastal fauna of 50 species of mammals, 260 birds, around 300 fish, 27 amphibians, more than 30 reptiles and a huge variety of invertebrates. At its side are important urban centers.

Meanwhile, the consensual draft of the Wetlands Law, which offers resources to mitigate the impact of climate change, was intentionally ignored and shelved, while the Ministry of the Environment promotes a law tailored to concentrated agribusiness sectors and large real estate operators. .

Delta’s intentional fires

Unlike Europe or North America, the fires in the Delta are intentional and a consequence of the agrotechnological model that has prevailed since the mid-1990s, which generates huge exportable volumes and extraordinary income for a minority, but also produces a set of externalities that sweep away the diversity of ecosystems and deteriorate the quality of life of human settlements.

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Even more serious is that these fires are often carried out in a context of drought and extraordinary descent of Paraná and with high temperatures. Thus, multiple simultaneous uncontrolled outbreaks imply a risk of ecosystem devastation, surpassing any level of resilience that native species may present.

In 2020 in this region there were more than 3,700 heat sources detected by satellite sensor data, more than in the entire previous decade combined. Of these outbreaks, 82% are concentrated in the province of Entre Ríos, which explains why Rosario, San Nicolás and San Pedro are among the most affected cities.

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And the existing laws are dead letter

The distance that exists between a law and its application is revealed again in this case; In September 2008, the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Entre Ríos sanctioned Law No. 9,868 on fire management and prevention, which specifies control mechanisms and penalties for non-compliance.

A dead letter, with impunity for unilateral actions by landowners, who prioritize their economic profitability over the common good, in addition to burning, damming streams, overgrazing and intensive use of agrochemicals.

The failure to comply with current laws, the blocking of the Pantanal Law, the lack of control, are not the result of a lack of information or available resources, it is part of the systematic policy of lobbying by agribusiness and governments, which, in addition to speeches, governments that refuse to implement the different channels of collective participation in the management and democratization of the territory always give in to their pressure. Collective spaces that already exist and have contributed with their experiences and knowledge in the essential dispute for the preservation of life.

Taking as a background the records of last summer in our country, it is foreseeable that droughts and fires will return when the summer season approaches. No one can plead ignorance.

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