By Cristián Frers
One of the samples showed that the waters contain a significant amount of phosphorus: 1.12 ppm. Phosphorus gives rise to plant nutrients that can be pollutants. When they enter the water, they contribute to the formation of algae, in the same way that nitrates do. In fact, phosphorus is the element whose lack restricts the growth of aquatic plants. By incorporating phosphorus into the water of a river or lake, the growth of the algae is accelerated, which, finally, damages the ecosystem by the decrease in oxygen levels that takes place once the algae die.
Obviously, almost 12 years later, since we are at the beginning of 2017, things have not changed or modified too much in the town of Carmen de Areco - Province of Buenos Aires. I have visited the river during the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and I continue to do so today ... The truth is that political inaction is alarming and produces pain.
It is evident that the seriousness of the problem encompasses and compromises different sectors involved in the face of the problems suffered by a river that can offer even better possibilities, which they are taking advantage of at the moment. The truth is that, as in so many other cases, Argentines have a rich heritage in the Areco River and very little is being done to preserve it. The fight for sanitation is a battle against corruption, bureaucracy, incapacity, apathy and lies; it is ultimately an emblematic fight against mediocrity.
During the years that I have lived in the town, I have wanted to promote the use of constructed wetlands to minimize ecological damage, but with no luck ... Why use constructed wetlands? Because an artificial wetland is a shallow wastewater treatment system (pond or channel), not more than 0.60 cm, built by man, in which aquatic plants have been planted, and relied on natural processes to treat the water residual. Constructed wetlands have advantages over alternative treatment systems in that they require little or no energy to function. If enough cheap land is available near the aquaculture wetland facility, it can be a cost effective alternative. Constructed wetlands provide habitat for wildlife, and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The President of the Nation Mauricio Macri has proposed a very similar solution to clean the coasts of the Riachuelo in the City of Buenos Aires.
It is the function of the Mayor, of politicians and public officials, to investigate and find the causes of this contamination because the question that arises is: If the surface waters of a river are becoming contaminated ... Will not the waters we use also be? to quench your thirst?
There could be two options: Option A: That the Mayor, politicians, public officials and many citizens come out and express that everything I said and the evidence I present are false and that the source is not safe. Option B: That the Mayor, politicians, public officials and many citizens, take note of the problem and look for a solution through proper management. Now ... The million dollar question is: which of the two options will you choose?
I believe that deserving a river means knowing how to make use of it, love it, love its inhabitants, its environment and fundamentally wish that it never ceases to be what it is today, for our children and our grandchildren; and act accordingly. Deserving a river means respecting the regulations, educating yourself to adopt an attitude that contributes to improving its conditions.