Carnival Queen reveals naked truth about pulp pollution to politicians

Feature story - 12 May, 2006
The Carnival Queen of Argentina attended the EU - Latin American Countries Summit in Vienna to expose Greenpeace's concerns about the pollution of the Uruguay River.

The Carnival Queen of Argentina attended the EU - Latin American Countries Summit in Vienna to expose Greenpeace's bottom-line concerns about the pollution of the Uruguay River.

In front of Presidents Vazquez of Uruguay and Kirchner of Argentina sheput on a provocative costume to convey a provocative message: stop thetwo huge European-owned paper pulp mills which threaten to pollute theriver area of her home.

Theproposed plants are to be built in Fray Bentos, on the Uruguayan shoreof the Uruguay river, and its toxic byproducts will flow into theArgentine city of Gualeguaychu.

The conflict has put a strain onrelations between Argentina and Uruguay, and on 30 May 2006, 100,000people protested on the bridge that unites Gualeguaychu and FrayBentos. The unexpected appearance of Evangelina Carrozzo, the dancingCarnival Queen, brought the issue even more attention.

Greenpeacedemands a clean production plan for the industry in the region thatincludes the total elimination of all chlorine compounds in the bleaching process as well as the relocation of these new pulp mills faraway from any urban centre. "We urgently need to have legislation thatgoverns the production of pulp and paper in the region. Suchlegislation should include the total elimination of all chlorinecompounds to allow a closed system for effluents." says Paula Brufman,Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace Argentina.

Every year a newCarnival Queen is elected amongst thousands of participants. Theelection takes place in the city of Gualeguaychu where the biggestcarnival celebrations in the southern cone take place. EvangelinaCarrozzo was elected Queen in February.

"Being Queen of Carnivalmeans a lot more than just a dancing beauty contest. Being Queen ofCarnival in Gualeguaychu means that I represent the Uruguay river... Ispeak for our people and the nature around us. I am entirely qualifiedto demand to any Head of State that they protect our environment", saidMiss Carrozzo.

The smiling activist wore a long raincoat and hidamong photographers before springing out in front of the assembledpolitical leaders with her message.