Operator, pilot and grower sentenced to prison
In a historical judgment in Concepcion del Uruguay, a town in Argentina, those responsible for spraying on the Santa Anita school were convicted to prison time. The president of the aerial application company, the owner of the field and the pilot were sentenced to a year and a half of prison.
In an unprecedented and historic ruling, the court of Concepcion del Uruguay condemned the three accused of the aerial spraying of pesticides on a teacher and five students of the rural school No. 44 of Santa Anita.
The president of the company, Villaguay Aero Litoral SA, Erminio Bernardo Rodríguez, the owner of the field that hired the service, José Mario Honecker and the pilot César Martín Visconti, were sentenced to a year and a half in prison.
Judges Fabián López Mora, Mariano Martínez and Mariela Emilce Rojas announced the sentence as criminally responsible for “minor injuries and culpable environmental contamination”.
Honecker was convicted of having contracted the services of the firm Aero Litoral de Rodríguez for the field located between km 7 and 11, in the rural area of Santa Anita, using chemicals classified as hazardous waste by National Law 24.051. Visconti was the pilot who made the aerial application.
This trial is the first in the province for the spraying of a school. The case began with the complaint of teacher Mariela Leiva, who was at the head of the class when the event occurred. The claim was accompanied by the campaign “Stop the Fumigation of Schools”, headed by the subsidiary Basavilbaso, Uruguayan section of the Association of Magisterium Entre Ríos.
Leiva, along with five other children, reported vomiting, nausea, stomach pains, skin rashes and mucous membranes and had to be treated at the Reverend Father Becher Hospital.
Between the days of Monday 18 and Thursday 21 September, a score of witnesses or participants in that event passed through the judicial court. The parents of the affected children were also exposed, Dr. Elizabeth Tisocco, physician of the hospital; neighbors of the area, authorities who came to the complaint, the mayor Horacio Amavet, medical professionals who also worked during the process of investigation of the case for their contribution to the trial and professional agronomists.
The trial sets an important precedent, being the first in the province linked to the problems of the spraying of schools and is expected to promote the new law. The defendants plan to appeal the decision. — Source www.unoentrerios.com.ar