The dumping of effluents from fisheries in Rawson, the capital of Chubut, caused the appearance of a “pink lagoon” in the area of the industrial park of Trelew. The phenomenon led to a controversy between the two municipalities and the provincial government and led to clashes over caring for the environment. In addition to the striking color of the water, the pollution brought foul odors, a proliferation of insects and other vectors.
As he could know Clarion, the dumping of liquids into the lagoon is carried out by the company Rawson Ambiental Sociedad Anónima (RASA) formed a couple of years ago by a group of fishing companies among which are Iberpesca, Cabo Vírgenes, Fyrsa, Veraz, La Costillita and Food Partner.
The spill is allowed by an agreement that the company signed with the government of Chubut and the municipality of Rawson but of which Trelew is not part, in whose ejido the spill that dyed pink a lagoon located on the property belonging to the Corporation takes place. Development (CORFO).
In this regard, the head of Environmental Control of the province, Juan Michelou, said that “the dumping of these wastes had been authorized. An agreement was made to dump liquids in the Corfo lagoons. And we have also verified significant progress in the works stipulated by said agreement and we will continue from the Ministry of the Environment with permanent supervision ”. The official minimized the color of the lagoon caused by chemicals used to preserve shrimp. “It is normal, the reddish color does not cause damage and in a few days it will disappear“, He said.
Another view of the pink lagoon that caused so much concern in Trelew. Photo Daniel Feldman / Jornada
The official’s words caused a harsh meeting with officials of the municipality of Trelew. The Secretary of Public Works, Sebastián de la Vallina, pointed harshly against Michelau and said that “minimizing this is ridiculous and more as if it were something natural. This is concerning and is not telling the truth. They are shedding fluids without prior treatment and without our knowledge (for Trelew). We were very clear when the agreement was signed and we expressed our disagreement ”.
To have a more objective view on the subject, Clarion He consulted Federico Restrepo, a specialist in liquid effluent treatment who has already carried out work in the area. The professional was clear: “I am seriously concerned that there is no environmental solution to that problem. Let the director of Ambiente Michelou say that color appeared overnight is a mistake because it is practically impossible, it has no technical basis and it diminishes the importance of the contamination of water resources ”.
He continued by stating that “this liquid contains sodium sulfite. Its function is to prevent the shrimp from spoiling. That is, it kills the bacterial colonies and does not allow the shrimp protein to degrade. That product added to water to preserve the shrimp cannot sustain life. In other words, any treatment that is thought to be carried out or any type of remediation is impossible to do ”.
For some officials the color will disappear on its own. The experts do not think the same. Photo Daniel Feldman / Jornada
Restrepo assured that “it is necessary to start from the base that what is there has to be remedied and it cannot be remedied by simply leaving it on the ground and it evaporates and pollute the layer of a sector that is not only a sector of the liquid of the industry but can also be used for afforestation of the area and other issues according to the environment. In other words, it is polluting and generating worse problems for Trelew. For example, generation of odors, insects, vectors that feed on the organic matter that is contained there ”.
And he continued: “What you have to ask yourself is who is going to be responsible for this remediation. And what are they going to do to remedy it. It will be the Development Corporation (Corfo), the municipality of Trelew, Rawson. It will be the fisheries that are really directly responsible for the pollution. What is going to be done to avoid contamination of the water in Trelew and the area. This is without a doubt a federal crime “.
The specialist wondered if the company spilling the waste “will take charge of the remediation” and spoke of the “responsibility of the fishing industry in the problem.”
And he concluded: “The environmental policy law says very clearly that if there is a presumption of contamination, what was going to be done is not done. Only with that, with the presumption. And that was allowed when there are studies that what was done is badly done and that go against not only a provincial law but also a national environmental law. The act of the ministry allowing such contamination is outrageous. It cannot be possible that a place that is not contaminated is contaminated, that a fishery discharges such content ”.