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In search of an environmental policy

In search of an environmental policy

By Cristian Frers

Environmental policies, especially those aimed at curbing the damage caused by pollution must be all or nothing, that is to say that if a campaign is undertaken, no cracks can be left or started small. It is not efficient to call for voluntary adherence to a clean production plan, to which those who always collaborate will go, since those who are not interested in clean production will continue to contaminate freely.


In general, when we use the word policy, together with an adjective that qualifies it, for example: environmental policy, we do so in order to designate a set of actions that are deemed necessary, based on certain forecasts, to achieve a series of objectives such as preserving the natural principles of human life and promoting sustainable development. These objectives must incorporate specific decisions and actions aimed at fulfilling them, with the support of standards, institutions and procedures that allow the functionality of said policies to be achieved.

The idea of ​​environmental policy represents a specificity of the more general idea of ​​policy, since it designates a set of actions, usually designed by the State, which are considered essential to achieve a rational management of the environment; and that if such actions were not mediated it would be impossible to achieve. Environmental policy is, to put it simply, the answer to the question of what to do? to achieve a rational arrangement of the environment. In short, it is a question of determining how to act on reality to generate certain positive environmental effects, which, according to current trends, could not be generated from this reality.

Many times, the lack of coordination and planning of the actions of governments has resulted in a total ineffectiveness of their policies, and have meant, in environmental and infrastructure issues, the need to return to the beginning, to zero. For example, the very few times that anti-pollution measures have been established for watercourses, actions are taken against various companies, but open dumps are not taken into account, which are always on the banks of rivers, or are they dump sewage liquids without any treatment, or effluents simply leak with the complicity of certain officials who turn a blind eye.

Carrying out good environmental planning means developing a good environmental management plan where the actions required to prevent, mitigate, control, compensate and correct the possible negative environmental effects or impacts caused in the development of a project, work or activity also including follow-up, evaluation and monitoring plans and contingency plans.

The design and implementation of an environmental policy in currently developing countries, stands as an important condition for achieving equity, economic development and unquestionably, care for the environment.

Said environmental policy must meet characteristics of stability over time; consistency with institutional and overall performance; and of consideration of the capacities of public and private leadership, as well as of the municipal economic, political and social conditions. Furthermore, the success of environmental management must be based on a clear definition of objectives and priorities that, in addition, must be congruent with the real needs of society.


Environmental policies, especially those aimed at curbing the damage caused by pollution, should be all or nothing, that is, if a campaign is undertaken, no cracks can be left or started small. It is not efficient to call for voluntary adherence to a clean production plan, to which those who always collaborate will go, since those who are not interested in clean production will continue to contaminate freely.

A large part of the problem of environmental deterioration in Argentina is due to the conviction that natural resources are unlimited and invulnerable, the lack of an adequate policy, the lack of coordination in the application of the norms and the insufficient information and public awareness on the protection of nature and the scope of protection systems.

We suffer damages from rural and urban floods, from desertification of soils and deforestation. More than 22% of the inhabitants of Argentina lack drinking water and at least 44% do not have sewers. We are faced with the problem of what to do with waste. We must promote the recycling industry. We are facing the predation of fishing, and there are many other cases that affect the development, health, interests and well-being of citizens. You always react when crises occur, but you don't think or act to prevent them.

That is why I fervently believe that the municipality of the city of Carmen de Areco - Province of Buenos Aires, should give rise to a sustainable development secretariat to plan: The evaluation of the projects to be developed in the Municipality, to determine which of they have effects on the environment or on the health of the population and guarantee the participation of neighbors in consultations on said projects in accordance with the laws and, in addition, to train technicians and professionals in issues related to environmental management.

This secretary would in turn serve to:

- That the authorities commit to solving the problem of urban solid waste by creating a progressive program that allows the reduction, recycling and reuse of waste produced in family homes. Closing the current open garbage dumps and starting their remediation. Carry out a medical epidemiological survey to determine the causes of disease in urban and rural areas; implement a reliable registry and implement a health plan according to the results obtained.

- Clean up urban and rural water courses (streams, rivers, canals and ditches) in favor of community health.

- Promote environmental education as a tool for the training of new generations in formal and non-formal settings.

This secretariat would act as the Enforcement Authority regarding environmental problems and would be the generator of municipal ordinances related to the management, use and sanitation of water, to the implementation and management of environmental education, among others.

It is important to bear in mind that the development of a regional environmental policy meets important needs for all sectors of local life.

She demands that each regional community make an environmental balance on the historical process of regional development.

It also requires an updated diagnosis, defining how this environmental reality is affected today by its economic, social, cultural, institutional, national and international environment. Each region shows a specific environmental reality, in its natural resources and potential, in the diversity and magnitude of the problems it must face.

Cristian Frers - Senior Technician in Environmental Management and Senior Technician in Social Communication


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