Children collecting recyclables in the streets (click on the video “Eliosa Cartonera” to your right to see images), city buses blowing clouds of CO2 in the faces of waiting passengers and poor families living on the banks of the super-polluted Riachuelo river are all facts of life in Buenos Aires.
But the report says up to 10 million kids risk their health as a result of poor environmental regulation. Diseases like leukemia and other cancers, foetal malformation, and infections that can affect the nervous system are all diseases that have been linked to contact between kids and environmental pollutents. According to teh World Health Organisation, some 83 of the 103 most common childhood diseases are contracted as a results of environmental risk, and end up taking the lives of four million children throughout the world each year.
Argentina’s anti-pollution legislation is one of the region’s sturdiest but it’s so poorly enforced that it hardly matters. Recently a court had to order the national environment minister to clean up the filthy Riachuelo or risk fines that would have to be paid out of her own pocket, such is the lack of political action on matters environmental.