The 2010 Dakar Rally which began yesterday in Buenos Aires is a feast for lovers of the brands but a cause for alert and mobilization for environmental organizations in Argentina and Chile, who fear the environmental damage that competition will produce in the region. For 17 days, more than 130 cars, 161 motorbikes, 50 quads and 29 trucks will travel 9 thousand kilometers of desert and mountainous terrain semi-virgin.

"It's not a conventional race where you are driving along a road but vehicles are changing course and cross fragile sandy areas, destroying in its wake the soil and native vegetation," denounced the biologist Raúl Montenegro, president of the Foundation for the Defense Environment (FUNAM), based in Cordoba. The NGO filed an amparo to Justice Cordoba to suspend the race because the Government did not conduct an environmental impact study and convened a public hearing as required by Law At press time, the judge had been issued.

"In Cordoba, we are going through a crisis because of drought and floods the area. Allow the Rally passes through sand dunes, sandy areas and other fragile environments is barbaric, "Montenegro said.

Damages. Cordoba is not the only province in arms against the Dakar Rally 2010, also in Mendoza and La Pampa there was criticism about the imminent passage of vehicles. In the city of San Rafael Mendoza, there was a public hearing to discuss the environmental impact of competition. Eduardo Sosa, director of the ecological network of the city Oikos, PROFILE told that the passage of the caravan in the dunes of Nihuil-prized by pilots for its sand traps could affect wetlands in the area and vegetation fixed dunes. "Last year, the Dakar extensively damaged, there was clearing and widening of roads. Yet the Government is hoping the company organizing the Rally repair the impact, "said Sosa.

Meanwhile, in Chile the organization Acción Ecológica also filed a lawsuit to stop the passage of the Dakar Rally for the Chilean desert as "threatening the country's archaeological heritage. In July 2009, the National Monuments Council of Canada presented a study on the environmental impact had caused the passage of the Dakar in January. According to the report, "there was serious damage archaeological sites and the communities of Vallenar, Caldera, Chañaral and La Higuera were most affected by the destruction of materials like ceramics, lawful and human bones.

This year, the Amaury Sport Organization, the company responsible for competition, said that coordinated with the governments of Argentina and Chile, a journey that does not cross protected areas for biodiversity care. But to environmentalists this is not enough: they say that much of the damage occurs when vehicles leave the routes. So plan to take a class action lawsuit for that to continue the race, compliance with regulations.

Damages. The race was run last year would have affected archaeological sites in Chile.