Is it possible to spend 5.2 billion dollars to clean up a river which is just 64-km-long and get practically no results? Argentina is showing that it is.
Children have been poisoned by lead in Villa Inflamable, a shantytown on the south side of the capital of Argentina. Resettling their families involves a socioenvironmental process as complex as the sanitation works in one of the most polluted river basins in the world.
Immortalised by a famous tango, the “Niebla del riachuelo” (Mist over the Riachuelo river) has begun to dissipate over Argentina’s most polluted river, much of which is lined by factories and slums. But two centuries of neglect and a complex web of political and economic interests are hindering a clean-up plan that requires a broad, concerted effort.
The process of cleaning up the Matanza-Riachuelo river, which runs through the Argentine capital, shows remarkable progress. But the biggest challenge is purifying the water in the basin, which has been damaged by centuries of neglect.