In the first epidemiological study ever conducted in the area, Gatica’s persistent door-to-door surveying uncovered the dirty truth about these aerial sprayings, which prompted her and more than a dozen of her concerned neighbors to jointly launch an official campaign called Stop Spraying. Despite a lack of resources and repeated threats by local police and some business owners, Gatica and her supporters were able to achieve a significant victory in protecting not only their town, but also the entire country of Argentina from biotechnology poison.
Gatica’s efforts prompt Argentinian Supreme Court to require chemical companies to prove chemical safety prior to use
In addition to helping get a local ordinance passed that has banned the spraying of all pesticides and herbicides within 2,500 meters of local residences, Gatica’s efforts have also helped convince her country’s Supreme Court to rule that agrochemical companies must now prove that their chemicals are safe before they can be permitted for use.
Prior to the ruling, the burden of proof was on local residents and other concerned parties to prove that an existing chemical was unsafe before it ever had the chance of being pulled from the market. But now, chemical companies will actually have to abide by commonsense regulatory and safety protocols before carelessly thrusting their toxic brews on rural agriculture.
Gatica’s successes in fighting the tyranny of the biotechnology industry in her community have been so significant that she was recently awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize (GEP), a prestigious prize given to individuals working at the grassroots level to protect the environment and fight injustice. But Gatica’s efforts do not stop there.
“Recognizing the extent of the issue, Gatica is working with the Stop Spraying campaign to ban all aerial spraying in Argentina and create buffer zones so that agrochemicals are not used in close proximity to residential areas and waterways,” says a recent GEP announcement. “With Argentina’s ban on endosulfan (another toxic insecticide) going into effect July 2013, Gatica and her colleagues are pushing for a nationwide ban on glyphosate as well.”
Sources for this article include: