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Reclaiming Argentina's Landscape

Part 2 Project 2021
Kate Hopkins
Leeds Beckett University | UK
Matanza river in Argentina, Buenos Aires, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, over 6,000 factories dump waste into the river, along with domestic and US waste shipments as China closes its doors to problematic materials, redirecting to developing countries. Activists are calling Argentina “a sacrificial country”, as these issues cause massive health risks for communities in shanty-towns along the basin, like Villa 21. Furthermore, Argentina’s biggest export is soya bean, causing loss in species, deforestation, and water pollution with agrochemicals, along with the displacement of farmers as demand forces smaller businesses to relocate to the city for alternative employment.
220 million tons of straw and stems is available each year, a by-product that could be utilised as a renewable source for natural cellulose filters to help tackle the health crisis as residents have to purchase water filters.

This project purposes the implementation of cellulose filtration systems along Matanza river, with innovational schemes for displaced farmers to help Argentine companies transition to plant-based materials/packaging. Waste extracted from the river will be recycled into building material e.g fiber reinforced concrete, to help facilitate the reconstruction of villa 21 shanty-town. Highlighting the complexity & layers of sustainability on multiple scales, addressing all issues of environmental, material & social responsibility.

Kate Hopkins


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