The City of Buenos Aires legislature has approved a bill prohibiting the use of agrotoxins in the capital.
The law, which received unanimous cross-party support, prevents the use of “synthetic herbicides” within the city limits, including “land owned by the federal government, the city government, or private property with public use or access.”
Legislator Adrián Camps, of the Partido Socialista Auténtico (PSA), sponsored the bill and explained that toxic chemicals like glysophate has been commonly used to remove weeds along rail tracks and empty plots of land – all in close proximity to people given high population density in the capital.
“This was particularly serious in areas where the rail tracks are next to streets, such as in the neighbourhood of Belgrano, where there are photos of fumigation and people passing by with baby pushchairs,” said Camps. “In other towns the use of glysophate is banned within 500m or 1,000m of a populated area, and here it was being used right in the city.”
In 2015, the World Health Organisation classified glysophate, used widely in weedkiller brands such as Monsanto’s Roundup, as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Its use has increased sharply across Argentina in line with the boom in production of genetically-modified soybean crops.
“In diverse countries they have shown that glyphosate can have serious consequences when it comes into contact with humans,” said Camps. “This law puts the people of Buenos Aires in tune not only with many other municipalities in the metropolitan area that have ordinances banning the use of these toxic substances, but also with the global trend in which the danger they represent is increasingly understood.”
Camps first introduced the bill in 2010, but it was delayed due to disputes over the wording of the law with regard private use. This is now prohibited only in cases when there is public access to the land in question.