Sikkim, one of the smallest states in India has made it mandatory for new mothers to plant saplings and protect them like their children to save environment
The human cost of agrotoxins. How glyphosate is killing Argentina
An emerging Argentinian photographer has realised a daring photo feature. Like David against Goliath, his enemies are glyphosate and the Monsanto Company.
Glyphosate, one of the world’s most used herbicides in agriculture, has devastating, dramatic effects on the health of people living in very close contact with it. This time, the warning does not come from environmental organisations or WHO’s agencies, but from a photo feature. Pablo Ernesto Piovano is an Argentinian photographer that decided, in 2014, to report the conditions of people living and working close to GM soy crops, where massive amounts of herbicide are used.
The human cost of pesticides
The photo feature, El Costo Humano de los Agrotóxicos (The Human Cost of Agrotoxins) has been exhibited at the 2015 edition of the Festival della Fotografia Etica of Lodi, Italy. Piovano’s pictures denounce the Monsanto Company, multinational that patented the genetically modified soy crop combined with the use of the Roundup herbicide (soy is resistant to it), which contains glyphosate.
“This work has been driven by my love and tribute to Mother Nature. That is why I decided to work to take evidence on this situation, spending long days by my own, travelling over 6000km on my own 20 years old car, and my camera as my contribution to stop this to continue,” said Piovano to Burn, magazine dedicated to emerging photographers.
Brief history of glyphosate
The story of glyphosate dates back to the 1950s, but its mass production under the name of RoundUp by the Monsanto Company started in 1974 in the United States. But things “got out of hands” when glyphosate started to be matched with genetically modified cereals to resist to the pesticide. It is now commercialised globally and its licence expired quite everywhere. In Europe, 14 companies produce it.
Argentina’s deplorable choice
Everything started in 1996, when the Argentinian government approved the cultivation and trade of GM-soy and the use of glyphosate, without conducting any investigation, but taking as scientific evidence only the works published by the Monsanto Company. Since then, genetically modified crops cover 60% of total arable lands, and 370 million litres of toxic pesticides have been sprayed on 21 million hectares in 2012 alone. In those areas, cases of cancer have tripled over 10 years, whilst cases of malformation among infants have increased by 400%. The cases of skin diseases and respiratory disorders are incalculable, both among youngsters and adults.
One third of the Argentinians is affected by glyphosate
A recent investigation, as reported by Burn, estimated that 13.4 million Argentinians (one third of the country’s total population) have glyphosate-related disorders. However, Argentina didn’t take any measure to curb such dramatic situation, as well as it didn’t commission further investigations and studies to discover what the population was going through.
The photo feature has not gone unnoticed. It has been awarded several prizes, such as the Mexico’s Festival Internacional de la Imagen award, and the third place of the POY Latam contest, in the “Carolina Hidalgo Vivar el medio ambiente” category. However, a culture of silence and such great power as Monsanto’s are enemies hard to be defeated, way stronger than evidence and pain.
Cover photo: Sunflower fields. Saenz Peña, Province of Chaco, Argentina © Pablo Ernesto Piovano
Quest'opera è distribuita con Licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 4.0 Internazionale.
Chilekwa Mumba is a Zambian is an environmental activist and community organizer. He is known for having organized a successful lawsuit against UK-based mining companies.
What led to the Fukushima water release, and what are the impacts of one of the most controversial decisions of the post-nuclear disaster clean-up effort?
Nzambi Matee is a Kenyan engineer who produces sustainable low-cost construction materials made of recycled plastic waste with the aim of addressing plastic pollution and affordable housing.
The Arctic-midlatitude teleconnection will become a less reliable predictor of midlatitude winter anomalies in a warmer future.
The Arctic sea ice’s near future might look different than we thought. A new study focused on the near future of the ice in the Arctic region.
Nearly 100 people have died in the heatwave in India that has badly hit millions of people who work under the blazing sun to earn their livelihood.
Mizoram, one of India’s least populous states, has been losing its forest cover due to the age-old slash-and-burn farming method known as Jhum cultivation.
A group of more than 120 leading lawyers have pledged not to work for new fossil fuel projects or prosecute the members of environmental organizations.