Argentine Goldman Prize winner targets agrochemicals
The turning point for Sofía Gatica of Argentina came in 1999, when her barely three-day-old daughter died of kidney failure. Later, she says, she came to the conclusion that health problems were unusually abundant in her neighborhood at the time—Ituzaingó, a working-class area of the city of Córdoba that is located next to soybean fields. What Gatica did next explains why she was in San Francisco, California on April 16 receiving the Goldman Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards, for the Central and South American region. After her daughter’s death, Gatica successfully pressed the provincial government to investigate. Authorities found her neighborhood’s water was polluted with the agricultural pesticide endosulfan. Her continued advocacy in Argentina has helped spur regulation of agrochemical use near houses. It also resulted in an unprecedented court investigation of two farming operations for indiscriminate use of agrochemicals, a probe expected to lead to a trial in June. Gatica spoke recently in Argentina with EcoAméricas correspondent Daniel Gutman.