X. v. Municipality of Pehuajó

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Final judgment
Argentina, Pehuajó, Buenos Aires province

Individuals, Neighbours
Public collectivities
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Civil court
Define safety zones for pesticide spraying so that residents living near these zones are not exposed.
Federal Court of Pehuajó, Buenos Aires province, Argentina
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November 27, 2023
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Édiction d’une mesure provisoire établissant deux zones de sécurité de 300 mètres chacune. Dans la première zone, jusqu’à 300 mètres des habitations, l’épandage de pesticides est interdit. Dans la zone adjacente, sur 300 mètres supplémentaires seuls les pesticides peu toxiques et peu volatiles peuvent être répandus. La municipalité a 90 jours pour adopter une réglementation protectrice de la santé des riverains.
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On November 27, 2023, Federal Judge Andrés Heim ordered the Municipality of Pehuajó, located in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, to establish a safety distance of 300 meters between plots treated with pesticides and residential areas. In this first zone, pesticide spraying is to be totally prohibited. The federal judge also ordered the establishment of an adjacent 300-metre zone in which only low-toxicity, low-volatility pesticides may be applied.

The order is intended to be provisional, pending a final decision by the federal judge. The Pehuajó City Council has 90 days to adopt regulations to protect local residents.

In this case, the father of a child (both anonymous) who had been exposed to pesticides sprayed on a field opposite their home filed a complaint.

Prior to the hearing, an investigation was carried out by the office of Prosecutor Maria Cecilia Mc Intosh. At the public hearing, attended by the victims, their representatives, the owners of the land being sprayed, representatives of the Institut National des Technologies Agricoles, environmental associations and representatives of the municipality, it was established that the pesticide spraying had affected four people, including two children.

In support of her request for a provisional measure suspending pesticide spraying activities in the proximity of residential areas, the Public Prosecutor invoked the right to a healthy environment and the right to life (enshrined not only in the Constitution but also in articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)).