City of Smoke

Argentine Burn-Off Pollution

On Wednesday late evening, I looked out my window and saw smoke. The city never ceases to surprise me. I thought I was imagining things, to see a thick and sulpherous cloud in the courtyard, but it’s just pollution. Farmers are burning off their fields outside the city for bovine grazing. We get to experience the burn-off first hand.

Before my classes, I buy a small cup of coffee from a senora on Avenida 25 de Mayo. She sells medialunas and coffee from thermoses of questionable origin. 

“What do you think of the smoke?” she asked. “I feel sorry for the babies–the ninos,” she told me, “This can’t be good for anyone’s respiratory system.”

Guardian.co.uk site states:

“This is the largest fire of this kind we’ve ever seen,” said the interior minister, Florencio Randazzo. “It was started by farmers clearing land for cattle grazing, driven by greed for profit and with total disregard for human life.”

This quote should be considered in the context of the recent campo protests over tax hikes for farmers. The government has not come to an agreement with the farmers; thus, they may be using this situation to place the farmers in a negative light.

I went to open my patio door today to enjoy the moderate weather and realized the smoke was filling my lungs. So much for enjoying the last scraps of summer.

Photo courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/shownh.php3?img_id=14789

3 Comments

Filed under City Center, Habitation

3 responses to “City of Smoke

  1. Great satellite photo of th smoke. It is really bad tonight and I can’t sleep so I thought I’d blog about it too. I added a link to your post.

    Be careful when reading the politically charged quotes from the the government.

    I have no doubt this is the fault of a careless farmer. But because of the unique environment, farmers have used a slash-burn method in the Delta to prep their fields for ages.

    It should not have gone this long without some sort of regulations in place to prevent a fire from getting out of hand.

    All of the sudden when it does happen, the government is quick to vilify “farmers” in general and not the one or two that are responsible.

  2. stilllifeinbuenosaires

    Thanks Dave. I considered this after uploading. The term “driven by greed for profit” didn’t sit well with me since it is a proven method of preparing the earth.

  3. Hi Texan in Buenos Aires!
    Very good your comments.
    I am a Buenos Airesean in Holland.
    Regards
    a

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