Argentina: Supreme Court establishes precedent, ordering 44 companies to report on discharges to river where pollution poses health risk
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Author: Buenos Aires Herald
The Supreme Court's call on national, provincial and municipal authorities to present a plan for cleaning up the Riachuelo within 30 days...On the one hand, it has every appearance of pioneering jurisprudence, advancing early in the 21st century to add environmental rights to a concept of civil and human rights which has been in constant expansion...the ruling holds the private sector accountable quite apart from the aforementioned authorities. But on the other hand, the timing of this ruling (within a fortnight of the...hearings in The Hague to settle Argentina's pulp mill dispute with Uruguay) looks suspiciously political...Whatever the motives behind the Supreme Court initiative, the right course of action must always be applauded...At least five million people live within the watershed of the Riachuelo and the myriad health hazards emanating from its mucky waters hardly bear thinking about. Yet the Supreme Court needs to proceed beyond juridical...the government plan demanded by the court [should not] be a mere declaration of intent...