Fundacion Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Daniel Ryan is the Director of Environmental Policy at Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN). He is also a lecturer on comparative environmental policy and judicial politics at Universidad de Palermo (Argentina). In 2011-2012, he was the research coordinator for the regional project on the “Situation of the Climate Change and Development Policies in Latin America,” sponsored by the Latin American Platform on Climate. Ryan has a Ph.D. in political science from the Department of Government at the University of Texas-Austin, a L.L.M. on Environmental Law from University of London (UK), and a J.D. from the Law School of the National University of Cordoba (Argentina). He has received grants from several institutions, including the British Council, Fulbright Commission, and the Teresa Lozano Institute of Latin American Studies of the University of Texas at Austin.
Legal Mobilization and the Politics of Water Pollution: The Case of the Matanza - Riachuelo Basin in Argentina
The Riachuelo basin, largely located in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is considered one of the most polluted areas in Latin America, with six million people living in the territory of the basin.
A large percentage of this population (especially the population living at the banks of the rivers) is poor, lacks access to sewage and water services systems, and lives in slums in extremely precarious housing. Moreover, the basin also encompasses some of the most heavily industrialized areas in Argentina, which dump their effluents to the basin’s watercourses. After years of fragmented local protests and ineffective governments’ attempts to clean up the basin, the Supreme Court of Argentina in 2008 ordered the federal and local governments to control environmental pollution, clean up the basin, and provide environmental information to the public. This paper analyzes how the Court’s intervention affected the politics of water management and pollution control in the basin. Moreover, it assesses to what extent the adjudication of the Riachuelo case created new opportunities for the involvement of local actors in policy making and water pollution control issues in the basin.
1 In fact, according to the Blacksmith Institute, the Riachuelo basin is one of the 30 most polluted sites or areas in the world.
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