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The neighbors of the Argentinean town of Guernica, in Buenos Aires province, have been putting up a fight for nearly ten years against the use of agrotoxics, which has contaminated the environment and affected the health of the local population. Thanks to their mobilization, organization and constant monitoring the neighbors have been able to make one of the three plots of land to stop fumigating.
Santa Teresita and Las Lomas are two neighborhoods of Guernica town, 38 km south of Buenos Aires, the Argentinean capital. The neighborhoods are urban because of their infrastructure and services, but because of the nearby soy, wheat and sorgum plantations the local residents have been exposed to the use of agrotoxics for the past ten years. Three fields are located within close distance to the houses and some sectors are only divided by a narrow street from the fields. Therefore, their houses, plants and animals are constantly fumigated with high doses of glyphosate and enduslfan organochlorine insecticide.
In September 2010 the neighbors submitted a proposal for a regulation to the Municipality, which was analyzed, amended and passed as Muncipal Regulation 708, which banned fumigations in the district, by providing a minimum distance of 500 meters from the urban areas for land fumigations.
However, the regulation was violated by the producers that began fumigating during the night. Again, the residents reported this to the police. Together with the association Center of Agroecologic Education ASHPA, the neighbors filed a complaint before the Ombudsman of the province of Buenos Aires. At the same time the Environmental Coordinator of the South (CAS) was created by ASHPA Civil Association, Cultural Project Los Otros, the Popular Front Dario Santillan and the neighbors. The 1st Meeting of Agrotoxics of Guernica . was organized on July 22 of 2011 at Secondary School 11 of Las Lomas.
Many neighbors and associations interested in stopping fumigations participated in the meeting.
Friends of the Earth Argentina interviewed Marisa, a neighbor of Las Lomas, who spoke about the struggle for life amid the threats and illnesses, but also about proposals and alternatives to the use of land.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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