The governor of Argentina's Entre Rios province, bordering Uruguay, recently announced his decision to file a complaint with us -based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, opposing the construction of two pulp mills owned by European firms on the banks of Uruguay river. The river forms the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. Argentine opposition to the mills, approved by Uruguay, has soured relations between the two nations.
The petition says the pulp mills emit toxins and violate the Argentines' right to a healthy environment. "We are doing this fundamentally as citizens who defend the 300,000 residents who live on the river banks and who are victims of the contamination," said governor Jorge Busti. The mills are to be built by Europe's second largest pulp producer Metsa-Botnia of Finland and Spain's Ence at a cost of us $1.7 billion and will produce 1.5 million tonnes wood pulp for export. They constitute the biggest private investments in Uruguay's history and have been hailed by the host country as a major economic leap. Though the two nations have set up a bilateral commission to conduct an environmental impact study on the project, Busti says Argentines are worried.
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