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of the river has grown steadily worse; today 60 out of the nearly 3000 industrial units with the river basin area are the cause of approximately 80% of the Matanza-Riachuelo’s pollution (Estebarena and Caeiro). Industrial plants discharge effluents directly into the river, pumping toxic chemicals, heavy-metal contaminants from pharmaceutical, petrochemicals, and meat packing facilities, and organic waste into the already severely polluted water. The water is not only a dark brown-black chemical soup, but the air and soil surrounding the area are dangerously polluted as well, causing severe health effects for the seven million residents of the 2000 square kilometer area that surrounds the river basin. In recent studies, it was discovered that 50% of the children living in the vicinity of the river and the many petrochemical plants and refineries that border it have lead in their blood, as well as other toxic chemicals like chrome and benzene in their urine as a direct cause of their proximity to the polluted river. Child mortality in the area surrounding the Matanza-Riachuelo is twice as high as that in other areas of the Buenos Aires province (Estebarena and Caeiro). Yet

another

environmental

problem

resulting

from

the

urbanization of Argentina has been waste management and removal from the huge urban centers that contain 91.1% of Argentina’s population. Every day 5,000 tons of waste are

86

Esferas—Issue Two  

Esferas is an undergraduate student and alumni initiative from New York University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. We are a peer-re...

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