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Unpunished Stench
People cover their noses claiming contamination, but legally there is not a crime.

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By Luis Correa Castillo and Nelson Peñaherrera Castillo
FACTORTIERRA.NET


The Canal Vía, that divides Sullana and bellavista Cities (just the border on the photograph, actually), built after Cieneguillo Creek searched its ancient course during El Niño of 1983. The work allows to evacuate the rain water of the whole metropolitan area, but it works as a waste water canal when it is dry.
Photo by Estany Tineo / FACTORTIERRA.NET

SULLANA, Peru - The second largest metropolitan area in Piura Region seems to be attacked by stench from everywhere: vinasse steam from  the west, processes of hydrobiological products from its Industrial Zone, waste water inside the city especially along the known Canal Vía, and even the Chira River's reservoir  created by the Sullana Derivator Dam.

The people claim air contamination, but  technically there is not an imputable crime and legal tools are very limited.

In other countries, the crime is called odoriferous or olfactory contamination, when certain odors affect our rights to a clean environment, what does not appear highly defined in Peruvian legislation.

Without Legal Base
Despite several existent  national laws regulating many environmental crimes, no one disposition  sets up  a ruling about odoriferous contamination; they only rules around "... the one infringing upon  laws, rules, or allowed top limits, provocates or makes downloads, emissions, emissions of toxic gases, emissions of noise, leakings, pouring,  or polluting radiations in the atmosphere,... will be repressed with privative punishment of freedom  not less than four years, not more than six years, and 100 to 600 day fine." (Penal Code's 304th article)

We maybe could typify the polluting odor into the polluting emissions crime, and that would not be something wild unless both concepts were consequence of one each other but different on assumption. In other words,  if it were true  that the source generates polluting emissions, the consequence is it would generate bad odor, and the legal trick comes here.

An emission  can contain several molecules those not necessarily generate polluting odor, and how do you identify them? The answer is that Peru does not have the necessary technology to identify the polluting molecules or odoriferous molecules, as some issue's scholars point out. Consequently, we know the bad odor exists, but  as we can not identify scientifically them and much less framing them into a legal type, , there is no crime.

Regarding and as much as FACTORTIERRA.NET has researched, it seems there is unavailable equipment in Peru to analyze odoriferous molecules, what does happen in many European ccountries like Netherlands, France, and Belgium, Japan in Asia, and not going so far in the U.S.,  Canada, Mexico and Chile in Americas.

In those countries, the Olfactometry has consolidated its technical basis to measure the odor in quantity, what gets real through an olfactometric study, which provides data about concentration, odor intensity, and sensation that produces across the people.

As much as FACTORTIERRA.NET has researched, there are not scientific studies aboarding the odoriferous contamination in Sullana, so there are not reference tools for tempting a local regulation even, beyond the claims of the neighborhood and some news reports.

Social Demand
The closer cases those the social demand made the lawmakers proposed a new reform in environmental policy happened in Coronel Commune, Chile, due to  the emissions of its fish industry, and  also because of the stench produced by  the pork pouring  in many sectors at O'Higgins region, or the one lived by the neighbors of La Farfana's Waste Water Treatment Plant in Maipú Commune, Santiago Metropolitan Region.

The law project that typifies the atmospheric contamination by bad odors or olfactive contamination fundamentally looks for getting  the protection of the people before the olfactory contamination, having as main objectives:
1)  To guarantee the life quality of the people  and the right to live in an environment free of contamination through the regulation of  bothering odor;
2) To Give an answer to the existent social demand  for regulating the environmental contamination by bad odor or olfactive contamination;
3) To get the protection of  the people  before the  olfactive contamination through legal instruments .

The new big question is why did Chile and other countries get focused  their efforts on this problem and Peru did not? Simply because before the lack of laws regulating the odor issue, we have the impression that this kind of contamination will not reach the whole nation, and much less it was the motivation of a national claim from citizenship. A successful example of  social demand was the fight against nocive noises or animal mistreatment, those led to their regulation.

Right now, Sullana seems to be hands-tied, or just covering its nose said otherwise, but that does not block the citizenship defends its right to a quiet life and a totallyclean environment,  even stench-free.

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