A summary of Uruguay’s and Argentina’s court sessions at the Hague’s international court of justice regarding a dispute over the environmental effects of Uruguay’s Botnia pulp mill has revealed Argentina’s mismanagement of data, Uruguayan paper El Observador reported.
A document, drawn up by Uruguay’s national environmental authority Dinama, states that Argentina used data provided by Uruguay’s state-owned water utility OSE in an effort to prove that the plant has indeed contaminated the waters of the Uruguay river, shared by the two countries.
According to Dinama, Argentina used OSE’s data to state that Botnia had damaged the quality of the river’s waters, surpassing the limits of dissolved oxygen established by the Uruguay river management committee (Caru).
The Argentine officials, however, used OSE’s oxidability data which cannot be used in the same way. High levels of dissolved oxygen indicate good water quality, while low levels of oxidability indicate the same thing.
Argentine officials submitted the data to prove that the river’s waters had been contaminated, stating that the levels of dissolved oxygen had dropped using OSE’s oxidability data. In other words, they technically proved that the river’s water quality is good.
The Hague is expected to deliver its verdict in 2010.
Botnia, located in Rio Negro department’s Fray Bentos town, has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between Uruguay and Argentine authorities. Argentina alleges the pulp industry processing system is contaminating, regardless of what environmental reports indicate.
Argentina also claims the installation of the plant is at odds with a bilateral agreement dating back to the 1970s regarding joint management and initiatives on the Uruguay river, and that the Botnia project was carried out without first consulting with Buenos Aires.
Numerous studies, many of which have been carried out by international organizations, show that the river’s waters have not been altered by activities at the pulp mill.
Related web site: International Court of Justice – Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay)
Source: BNamericas.com [subscription site], 30 Oct 2009